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What You Thought It Was, What It Really Was

How many times do we write “tip of the iceberg” around here? When faced with a D-Day, chumps never get the full picture. And, fact is, many years out, you realize “the whole truth” is unknowable with a cheater. There are skeletons you will never unearth. Meh is walking away from the shovel.

But I thought it would be a useful exercise — especially valuable to new chumps, or any hopeful reconcilers who dare to wander to this site (Abandon Hopium All Ye Who Enter!) — to write down what you THOUGHT you knew, versus what it actually was.

I’m not talking about a long recitation of your D-Days, or meditations on “trickle truth.” I just want the stark facts — the one-two punch of reality.

Here’s me.

What I thought it was:

D-Day — I thought (because I was told) it was an indiscretion with an old-girlfriend before we married. I thought he was sorry, and I was a brave, loving woman who was going to see us through this crisis together.

What it was:

Serial cheating throughout three marriages. He’d never had a faithful day since I met him. The OW was not a one-off — she was a long-term OW, dating back to his FIRST marriage. (Yeah, a 20 year affair, at that point…) And they had a kid. And she wasn’t the only OW by a long shot. Dude was a pathological liar, a personality disorder, a total fraud.

Boy, this is a cheery exercise! But the point is, newbies — be skeptical in those early days. You rarely have the whole picture. ICEBERG AHEAD!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • What I thought it was:

    A long distance emotional affair with his old girlfriend from 20 years ago. Even though he had gone to Europe, supposedly to visit my son who live in Germany for his birthday, he stayed with his cousin in Koln, an hour away from where my son lived. The X said he saw her but didn’t sleep with her. I actually felt sorry for him, thinking he was caught in a Facebook driven emotional affair.

    What it really was:
    The X had been carrying on a last distance affair that led to a romantic romp on a cruise ship with his X just before our 20 year anniversary and the trip to Germany, which was also a sex filled week. This led to other affairs coming out of the woodwork, neighbors, coworkers, 20 years of lies and abuse…I don’t believe in emotional affairs, or one time affairs, or the Easter bunny anymore.

    • Ugh.. the “emotional affair” claim is dodgy isn’t it? Mine admitted to a 2 year emotional affair prior to OW, and I now interpret that to mean “I had a physical affair but there’s no proof”. Same with a friend’s husband who got caught texting his OW about their hot sex, then claimed it was one-off. It sounded so preposterously unlikely but she wanted to believe him.

    • “I don’t believe in emotional affairs, or one time affairs, or the Easter bunny anymore.”

      Wow, THIS. Matchy tattoos, anyone?

      • The tattoo parlour has a line up.
        I will bring pies.

        Now, just where to put my tattoo,
        maybe over my broken heart!

      • The matching tattoos when they are just “friend” is a massive giveaway.

        A friend watched her husband emotionally attach himself to a close friend of hers, while the friends husband just accepted that they were all good friends, My friend called her husband on it and he opted marriage over. he got a girlfriend but was still emotionally connected to the other woman. Finally her husband called it quits, he flicked the girlfriend and the two announced their relationship. Her husband had swallowed this shit sandwich for at least three years that I know of. He was so glad to be rid of his wife on the day he moved out he helped his so-called friend move in. Their living together lasted a month, during that time the crazy bitch held a garage sale selling all of his stuff and when he moved out had nothing and had to start from scratch, but sadly is still hanging on to their special love. And the matching tattoos.

    • Yeah. Emotional affairs are just affairs that got exposed before the logistics for fucking could be worked out. One time cheaters are those that were unlucky enough to get caught the first time or those proficient enough at lying that they completely covered up the previous times.

  • He had more girlfriends than I imagined. Looking back on 26 years of marriage I believe he cheated the whole time.

  • I thought it was a few women.

    It was actually hundreds of people of all genders and ages down to mid teens, including a teen in my family.

      • Yep. Wife 3 or 4 or something was so young, she needed mom’s permission. Really repulsive.

        • Gagging! Wow, Amiisfree…what a reality nightmare! You are mighty, indeed.

      • Chump Lady,

        I’m not sure I can face the rest of the iceberg. I’m still reeling from the ship sinking & trying to stay afloat with so many ice floes banging into me. I guess my husband if 35 years was banging around too.

        BTW, he OFTEN would say that he “had never cheated” on me. I assumed it was a given. He said it so often that I came to wonder MORE, not less. Sort of like reminding me that he had not punched me in the face. But his cheating & bragging on FB about it, sure feels like a punch in the face.

        • Hi Doctor’s 1st Wife & Kids,

          I too was a Dr.’s first wife with kids, lol. I thought he started cheating on me once I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through treatment, because he said so much. Later as I was searching for an email from Craigslist to sell the kids play structure, I stumbled upon a series of emails between the honorable Dr. and Craigslist hook ups dating years before my diagnosis. By then I had kicked him out of the house and when I mentioned it to him on the phone there was just silence. Bleech.

          • Tahitibound

            Hard to know which is worse, the gut wrenching doubts about the whole marriage, OR the cliched nature of this.

            I don’t want to be a cliche. This sucks. I’m having trouble sleeping and I feel paralyzed by this so often. My husband has hidden the marital money and I’m broke so he may get away with a lot of this. And he’s abandoned our kids, which baffles me even more than his anger at ME! (WTF? Why is HE angry at ME?)

            Will he ever rebuild the relationships with our kids? And How are you doing now?

            • Why does he blame you? Because the narcissist sees himself as above mistakes. They never take the blame for anything so you guessed it, it is your fault and he is angry at you. In his eyes, it is also your fault that he doesn’t have a good relationship with the kids. Let’s face it, everything is your fault and you are the target of his anger.

              We need the bumper sticker: Things not going your way, just blame a chump!

            • Hi Doctor’s1stwifeandkids,

              The good news is two years out and finally divorced, I’m doing great. He never stop communicating with his college age son, because they share a similar detached personality. His daughter called him a middle-age sleazebag and barely talked to him for a year and a half. She broke down and started communicating with him when he threaten not to give her an allowance. I know in the long term it’s better that she has a relationship with him.
              It’s sad that the kids have to have a father like this, but they really seem to be doing OK. And talking about the cliché my dad is in almost 90-year-old doctor, still practicing and I found injectable erectile dysfunction medication with syringes is in his office refrigerator. You can’t make this stuff up. I don’t know maybe it’s the God complex that doctors have . My mom is in such deep denial that I don’t even discuss it with her. I’m just thankful that we’re in an era where women don’t have to suffer, and we can actually move on. And I’m dating a guy who would never in his wildest imagination cheat on somebody because he feels he would never want someone to do that to him. And I trust him because my friends have known him for 30 years and they know he’s a standup guy. That was something that was hard for me to wrap my head around that not all men cheat. And I’m happy to report they not all of them cheat and they actually care about your emotions!!!

            • Lawyers1stWife With 4 kids here—-

              Almost 3 years since DDay 1 and abandonment of our kids and telling them he “hated every minute of being a father” — no effort to rebuild anything. ????????????????????. Kids were desperate — 2 suicidal, other two with panic attacks. Everyone is ok for today but we will never be the same.
              I despised him — he conned me fully for 25 years.

              • I am glad you got a great settlement. Does not make it right what your X did to you and your kids but certainly helps. Power on Mother!

            • “I don’t want to be a cliche.” YOU are not a clique. The Cheater Physician who can’t keep his dick in his pants? There’s your cliche.

          • Raising my hand as yet another Dr.’s first wife and the mother of his four children. We could probably have a very large subset of chumps formally married to cheater doctors, that God complex and all! Mine announced he wanted a divorce after 23 years because he wasn’t happy and “I Had killed our Love” 10 years previous when we had moved to his home town next to his intrusive, narcissistic mother and I was understandably unhappy about the situation. At the time of his bomb drop, we had been living in another state away from his mother for over 7 years and I was loving it. So I begged for him to let me fix whatever he thought was wrong. I did the pick me dance for over two years. During that time I found out about the complex double life he had of swingers clubs, hookers, escorts, 900 number hook ups, Asian massage happy endings, and finally an affair with a nurse he found on Match who lived in the next town. Other doctor wives know about his final affair partner but no one told me.

            Funny how my husband never mentioned any of his infidelity when he first announced he wanted a divorce and was “unhappy”. His final affair partner was probably getting eager for the doctor’s wife life. She has it now as his wifetress and she is welcome to it. She now has the gift of him and his cold, sociopathic shark eyed stare. She has no idea the depths of his disorder, but I do and finally got free! Tip of the iceberg indeed.

            • Mine was in medical school when we met, got together, and had our daughter. So, I guess I’m a member of this club that nobody wants to be in, too.

              He’s a successful, respected doctor now, and at least as of a few years ago, I had reliable sources telling me that he was still at it in a big way, as far as cheating on his current wife, (who seems like a good person.) Our daughter reported to me a few years ago that they were actually thinking of separating, but I haven’t heard anything lately regarding that status or outcome.

              So, to answer the question posed by CL:

              What I thought I had: A hardworking guy making sacrifices for our eventual secure future.

              What I actually had: A nascent serial cheater who believed his own press and decided to screw around with a nursing student as I was in the hospital, recovering from the birth of his baby girl.

              (I did get an amazing daughter out of the whole experience, I must say!)

              • I’m another Doctor’s first wife (I’m a doctor also). There’s still a lot of fawning and adoration for male doctors in some fields – especially surgery. Mine also repeatedly told me repeatedly how ethical and decent he was, unlike his colleagues. All his secretaries adore him, although fortunately the head physio in their department saw through his “I’m so unhappy, we separated and then I met this lovely young single mum” immediately. OW loves money & labels but she has won the dubious prize of a cheating husband.

              • Well, I’m a pilot’s first wife, stayed by his side and supported him throughout our lean years.
                X would come back from a trip and tell me stories of other married pilots who would mess around. He’d then proceed to tell me how lucky I was to be married to such an honest man, a man of integrity.
                There came a time when my intuition was telling be something different.
                I asked him if he had been with some one, he’d laugh and tell me I had quite the imagination, I needed a hobby, he wasn’t that kind of guy.
                I brushed those feelings of doubt aside trusting, trusting I married someone who was a devoted to our marriage and me.
                I was devastated to find out I not only married a cheater but a liar and a thief.
                I’ve never known anyone so devious.

              • Hello Doctors1stWives& Kids

                We had lean as shit years due to Dr. Narkles FIRST career as a veterinarian and we lived in a trailer and ate goat meat (I swear). THEN I went to law school as per the plan AND had our first child, “Prematurely” by years. THEN the good animal DOCTOR had to attend more schooling… Our family has always gently praised/joked about our “goat meat” days, which DOCTOR Narkles now says “were normal. ALL couples start out poor.” NOT below the poverty level for 7 years…

                Here’s my real problem, 1) that after all the years of deferred gratification and denial, OW gets to live my life AND he has hidden and boldly just taken our joint money.

                SO I feel terrified for my financial future.

                And second, what I saw was intelligence and hard work but I mistook that for character. Apparently he was miserable for “years” and “this was coming for a long time.” WTF???

                He cut our youngest off of college tuition in her junior year, and has not spoken to our older kids for 8 months after they said there were “not ready to meet OW”, whom he posts on fb about. Calls her his “love of his life” and we were married 35 years…

                It literally is making me sick. I want to be happy and have romantic love in my life again. Now I wonder if I was in love all by myself.

              • tip of iceberg:
                doctor who i made what he is through the lean years and had three kids for( hence 4 years behind him career wise) dumps me for slutty single parent goldigging whore of a secretary just before my final exams and hides all the money without a roof over our heads. Whilst he crafted his exit strategy which involved – its all your fault for working too hard – i left 12 years of training behind to keep family together to find out he was shagging his secretary in 5*hotels
                Iceberg – yet to be revealed; may never be, I suspect now serial cheater – so many – i would never cheat, the kids would never forgive me; i would never cheat i work so much theres no time hahah; what the secretary ? no way; her hair is a mess.
                9 months later he fronts up with a serious case of GINR, which mostly involves – you have to change the way you are; its not as simple as whether i like you or not. apparently in his words” it was harder for me to fire her than break up with you ” boo hoo. kids all under six. no financial security or house. i am in deep doo doo. and yes . now everything seems different. i may also have been in love by myself. i miss the life i thought i had.
                Strange how society will see him as respected attending with a bit of a roving eye but that hard nosed bitch won’t take him back. besides there must be something a bit not right with her – must have been terrible in the sack. probably a bit crazy too.
                And there is no fucking disney movies or tv shows with awesome mothers and happy families – my oldest however is an empath it seems and immediately identified in Sing how that cheating porcupine was a real prick (sorry!) and she was better off without him .
                rant over

            • “Sociopath shark eyed stare”.

              I so relate…

              My husband now has the “weirdest eyes”. It’s creepy. They are small, cold, and lifeless.

              • Same here. Can’t look me in the eye either, not that I would ever get close enough to him or let him.
                Fucker lost the right and privilege of my gaze.

              • Mine has those eyes too and such a beautiful blue- I used to think they were his best feature.

                Who knew talking about the sexual escapades of coworkers was a red flag. E.g.”business partner has sex with one of the married secretaries in a work van at lunch.” The list goes on and on. I thought it was disgusting. Now, I think he found it exciting and while not exactly, he did similar things.

                I heard him tell one of our neighbors with whom he was in an unspoken completion that his job was great. He could sit on his phone with his feet on the desk while his attractive secretary gave him a foot massage and the money rolled in. Neighbor was a dentist.

                That secretary is mil’s girl Friday. I wonder if she would approve of how they speak of her. She is as much a part of the family as I was. One wrong step…

          • Another doctor’s former wife here too. Nothing more attractive to a nut case than MD after someone’s name. He used to say he could tell the ‘crazy eyes’. I bet he could.

            His ‘friends’ were narcissists too. He would complain about how his two friends were difficult and didn’t care about others like he did. Now I know he used them as a measurement of how he was a better kind of narc. But now I know, he was still a narc.

        • I asked mine flat out if there was someone else. He said “I have always been faithful”… Well, while we were still married i found an email to one of the other women that said, “I love you more than anyone Ive ever been with, and thats the truth!”. She was married with four kids and things ended between them, and a couple months later i find out theres another one- all WHILE we were still married. Once divorce was final he invited the ow to his apartment with my kids there, and banged her with my teenager HEARING them in the next room! They have NO conscience!

    • What I thought it was: on Dday I saw click “like”on a Facebook pic titled The Ideal Woman (a picture of my exact opposite).
      What it really was: a series of private messages on Facebook with multiple local women – all of them known to us through friends, work, etc. – telling them we were separated (news to me, I thought we were happy). Worse yet, he was using gross pick-up lines on them like “I saw you in town last weekend in your pretty little sundress and wanted to kidnap you on the spot.” Ugh, did I really not know what a slime ball he was?

      • Kidnapping? And what? Take her home and keep her in a box in the basement?

        At least there is an implied threat, I guess.

  • He said he was leaving ME because he was sick of our relationship of not getting along. What he didn’t tell me was there was a woman in waiting he had befriended at the gym and told our problems to.

    • Mine too. Problem was our 18 yr old daughter had been in hospital for 6 months after devastating car accident. A month home and he wanted out. Told me it was all about us and how we didn’t agree on things. Haven’t loved you for several years… blah blah blah. Then realized after all his changes and finding a sexy card hidden, he was seeing a CoWorker telling her all his problems… they’ve been together since and are now getting married. D lives with me and is paralyzed and I take care of her. He walked away for someone without any baggage (no kids never been married great job and 401K
      )… Yep I could tell a lot of stories of what I thought was happening and what really was happening. Its embarrassing. I was such a chump.

      • liveformyday,
        I have to say that you are an amazing person.
        Beyond Mighty!

        (((((((((Many many hugs to you and your precious Daughter))))))

        (Your cheater is so below you, there are simply no words for him).

      • How disgusting that he walked out while you cared for your sick daughter! So so vile! You are so much better than him and better off w/o him!!!!

      • Walking out on his own daughter? (not to mention his caring wife, who actually has a heart beating)
        He is truly sub-human.
        Tell your daughter there are people over here who love her, give her a kiss and hug from CN. ❤️

      • Omg, what is it with these guys taking no responsibility for their own kids, especially when the kid is sick? Our daughter has epilepsy and suffers from seizures especially at night. My stbxh, on discovering I was filing for divorce, went on about him keeping the house for 3 hours and took 3 days to question where our daughter would live before finally stating ‘shes your responsibility now’.
        Then, a few days later when daughter was having a fit in her sleep, he totally ignored her and came and got me to deal.with it. He walked past her room knowing she was mid fit, and fucking ignored her. He has since done this on two more occasions. His own daughter. What a sleaze bag. Luckily we have finally been able to move out and away from this asshat.

      • What a low-life. Who does stuff like that? How have you been managing emotionally? I know there’s no time limit on healing. For me it’s been two years. Sometimes I still feel the shock. Because I never thought he would do that. AND being left for another when they want out, does that qualify as infidelity? Do I have that right to hurt so much?

    • Funny that.

      The telling the OW all our problems.

      Mine even had the nerve to say that Shmoopie had encouraged him to “talk to me about it.” IE – all the bitching he was doing behind my back. But never had the guts to tell me to my face. Even when I asked him if he was happy, or if we could do things differently. Coward.

    • my ex told me he wasn’t going to her, he just had to leave me, because of a list of my flaws (whilst telling other people how much he loved her). She is 25 years younger, no kids, never had a full time job ( I worked for all the 40 years of our marriage). They are now married and he is sooooo happy. I have had to start my life over at 61, believing that I was the worst wife in the world ( but work in a caring profession, and have very close friends- they have none, just each other, so am I so awful?). 3 years post discard, I am still in counselling, self worth lower than a snake’s bottom…..

  • I thought my X was depressed, anxious, and struggling to function.

    What I learned is that he used online porn daily, cheated via online hookup sites, and used escort services. Those are the things I can prove.

    What I can’t prove is that he was the source for t a terrible uterine infection I had when my son was a toddler. Not until we were going through the divorce did my (ever-loving, supportive) sister raise that question to me.

    • Wow, you just connected another dot for me. When I first started sleeping with my now ex husband I got the worst UTIs. They just kept coming. My gyno put me on a low dose of antibiotics to take for after sex only. Here I thought it was me but most likely something he was up to. Gross!

      • I also had chronic UTIs with cheater. Went to several doctors, one suggested that maybe Cheater could be the cause and he and I should be checked for STDs. I was appalled as we were in a monogamous relationship (well I was!).
        When I talked to Cheater pants he said all his past girlfriends had this problem and it was likely the result of his huge dick!!!

      • It is gross. I’d already made my appointment to get tested for HIV and stds with my doctor; I decided to backtrack and investigate the prior problem.

        Turns out my doctor had send my labs to the CDC. When I had hobbled into his office I could barely walk from the pain and I got super powerful antibiotics. Doctor raised the question of std, but I, too, was married–so no way it was possible.

        My sister remembered how sick I was and how X was enraged by it. He did not want me to go to the doctor.

        Wonder why?

        • For utter fucks sake.

          That is gross. You are so lucky to be rid of him!

      • Count me in. Similar gynecological issues. I’ve had NO problems since I quit having sex with STBX.

      • OMG. I never made this connection before. Nowdeadserialcheaterwife had chronic yeast infections and UTIs. At the time, I thought they were just a chronic health issue. After she died and I found out the sheer scope of the cheating (as someone upthread said, she never had a loyal day as long as I knew her, certainly not after the first month or so) I figured they were her excuse to avoid intimacy with me.

        Now I’m wondering just how many of them were from strange d*ck.

        • Can I just say thank you for this information guys. I have had serious suspicions of cheating from about the 5th year or marriage to the 7th year only because when he finally was caught all the same patterns were resurrecting and severe UTI’s/ yeast infections were two of them. He even had the same rashly thing. It was gross. He blamed me of course. I didn’t even make the connections till right now.
          I mean I’ve had that gut instinct thing as there wee so many other red flags. But we moved cities and right after it all cleared up for a few years.
          You know what haven’t had an infection since kicked cheater to the curb.
          Wow just wow ????

          • You guys have made a light bulb go on in my head. I had recurrent unexplained cystitis while I was with my ex. I was taking keflex after intercourse for years. I never realised that that it may have been from his cheating! Which makes it worse, actually, we’ve only just had dday1 and that started last March… The cystitis started years ago. I will never know how many were before howorker. Vile pig.

            • This is true for me as well! When I began having UTI’s I thought it was a fluke. Luckily we had less sex because of the pain for me and this is when his true colors appeared and things went south for the remainder of the relationship. He was convinced I was cheating on him which was an alarm bell for me that he was cheating on me or preparing to at the very least.
              Now in retrospect it probably had already begun. Has been 3 years and haven’t experienced even a mild UTI since. I am just putting this puzzle piece together now because of these other stories. Gross.

      • I too was put on low dose antibiotics “nitrofurin” to take after sex. I now have knowndoubt that all of the infections I have had for more than 20 years are completely due to my monster husband’s infidelity. I indured so much pain and medical problems because of him and his sickness. He began choking be the last year….I will never be the same. My kids just think I am crazy and their dad was justified in leaving me …and don’t even seem to register that he cheated on me. After all—I was so crazy that he HAD to cheat. It’s a nightmare that I can’t wake up from. His endless prostitutes, Craigslist and Backpage hookups… one will ever know about those. The sexual abuse and horrific abuse to me…I feel like he just keeps “winning” with his lies and bullshit. Meanwhile the Sunday school teacher who loves children, family, and kittens – well I am crazy.

        • He’s a pig Perfectlife, and you deserve better. This kind of attack on our character, the lies about us behind our back, are just crazy making. I had to learn to forgive myself for going batshit on him- I’m still ashamed of letting him see me lose it- but I remind myself that my reaction was normal response to his narc tactics. You’re not the bad guy here Perfectlife. Hugs to you & prayers that the flying monkeys ???? your x has recruited get a clue and turn on him.

          • Thank you, Micha. I needed something affirming and positive—I am at such a low point right now. Dday April 14th, so 4.5 months out and hysterectomy 2 weeks ago. My youngest child moved out for college as well and had a complete meltdown last night. I just cannot seem to do anything to make things better. He told me his dad was telling him that I am crazy and dragging the divorce out. I told my son that I cannot control the Kansas Court system any more than I can control his dad! What am supposed to do?! We own a huge house and I have 25 years of stuff to go through to get it ready to sell and I cannot lift or bend right now. Somehow I need to make all the practical and realities just go away while his dad is off “hiking” for the holiday weekend. I am drowning and it’s seems like his trying to hold my head under and my poor son is just angry and upset. What man sits in church with his family for 24 years of marriage – in the same church we married in- and professes to be a good man and a Christian, then just goes down to the corner of Tyler and Douglass and pays $100 for an 18 year old hooker or meets one of my adult students at a seedy motel and gets kicks from knowing she is my student!? It’s the sickest thing imaginable and I need to move on! I wish I could just disappear and never come back here or see him again.

            • Ah PerfectLife, it’s the old mindfuck getting to you. Please be patient with yourself and go through the stages of grief nescessary to move on to that happy, cheater free life.

              My ex was screwing around with our daughter’s 20-something assistant soccer coach (2nd schmoopie in our 20 years together). One of the warning signs he was at it again was him sneaking off to our church to attend service without me. There are several different masses on Saturdays and Sundays and we would rotate around depending on our teenagers schedules. He was going to pray, I guess, about what he should do about them there twu wuvs he was feeling and didn’t need a pesky old wife in the way.

              We work in the same corporation and everyone thinks he’s such a ‘great guy’. Yep sure is unless you’re married to him. All I can do is keep my head held high and suppress my desire to out him to everyone in a 20 mile radius. Our kids, close friends, and my family know what really happened. That’s all I need to move on. The kids have been through enough.

              Just keep being you. That’s the best advice I can give. Keep being you and the normal, sane parent for your son. Let cheater dick do whatever he’s doing and don’t let him or his actions get under your skin. My kids do spend some time with their dad now, but they get it. Sometimes when dad is trying to get to me through them, my son will say ‘mom you know how dad is’. They get it. Your son will too.

              You have to feel the pain. You have to go no contact. I kept hearing ‘take care of yourself’ and I really didn’t even know what that meant. I have been giving so long, I don’t feel normal doing stuff for me. That’s okay. Just be and it will come. Eat good. Get some exercise. Let the pain come. And try to sleep.

              It really does get better. I didn’t believe that either initially. Prayers and hugs to you. Come here often.

              • MJB, thank you for the good advise. I keep telling myself, “be the sane parent”. But, he made me a emotional disaster at the point of suicide. It will take years for my kids to see that I am the sane parent! Sane people are hurt and wounded by gaslighting, abuse and manipulation. Crazy people do what these cheaters do! I guess I just need be in a marathon with my truth and not a sprint with his crazy narcissism. I know that my kids know deep down I am their rock and always have been and I love them unconditionally. He told me that our family wasn’t “special” like I had always believed and that “the kids will be fine”. Our kids are not fine – he has wounded them deeply and has no true remorse- only selfish “me, me, me” mantra. I get now that even spending one second on thinking about him is a further waste of my life, but this forum has helped me immensely to not feel so alone and learn some good coping strategies. I am the NC gray rock! Even if I am upset- I am never going to let him see it. No more “kibbles” for cray cray????

            • So sorry for you perfect life! I bet he is blaming you for needing a hysterectomy- mine did. At a mere 4 months out and he is blaming you for dragging it out. I am 15 months out and probably 6 months to a year away from divorce unless cheater stops digging his heals in at every turn. We live in a very fast paced area.

              Tell your son it was not your choice to be in this situation. Stay as sane as possible and hopefully he will get it. The cheaters really don’t change and their masks do continue to slip.

              Hugs- sorry you are a victim.

              • Perfectlife, when you can, when you are recovered physically, and can sell the house, move the hell out of that city. From your letter, I know what city you live in. The city of both the Koch brothers and BTK.

                Bad shit. I moved away from there, and my new city is not near as scary.

              • He tried to take me to court the week after my hysterectomy over a few hundred dollars which he knows is the difference between me having groceries or not. He makes 100k a year and has his money and spent money on countless ECCIE prostitutes. I even have the “reviews” he has given them online, so I know how much he spent, what he did with them, where, when, and their “provider names and descriptions”. He even gave them critiques on their bodies- which is so inbelievably arrogant!! He’s bald, overweight, and has severs stomach scars. Yet, he very arrogantly critiques these women for having slight stretch marks or a “little tummy”! I think either my kids or his mother convinced him to not take me into court for $250 a month 6 days after my surgery! He’s an enormous jackass!

              • I only filled 8 weeks ago. He’s been after me since week 3 to hurry things along. I finslky able to get my kids to understand that I had to have this surgery which was planned for a long time, but postponed because of the discoveries I made concerning his double identity. He has emailed me every week to “hurry” this along….like I am trying to hold it up! I don’t know what power he thinks I have over a court system that I have never ever been involved in. His lawyer did not even reply to my lawyer after insisting I needed to go to court. He told my husband to just pay what HE thought he should have to pay and basically ignore what the temporary order said. I don’t understand how he can do that! Now, there is supposed to be a settlement offer, but “poof!” Nothing. Not a word for over a week from his lawyer about what the settlement is. I can’t figure out what my husband thinks our finances will be better after the divorce. We will still have the same debt and the same income! I think he thinks he will not have to help me and can just dump this big mortgage on me. I make 47k and he makes 100k, so ya I get why he wants to hurry things along…more money for hookers and weird crap. But, the bank who owns our mortgage isn’t going to let him just walk away from this debt and responsibility and neither am I!

            • Perfectlife; You will need to rest after that surgery and will not feel up to that kind of work for awhile. (even if things were going well in your life). What a loser he is!

          • How do you tell the story that your husband who everyone thinks is such a good guy is a disgusting pervert and has been sexually abusive to you for more than20 years? He is so good at this act of his that he had me completely fooled for so many years. I was convinced I was crazy and a terrible person and so lucky to have him. His masked slipped when I found out a small part of his secret and I put him on the spot- and when it did– I got really, really scared. He is a cold emotionless selfish narcissists who is completely delusional. He accepts no blame and tells everyone that I am crazy. How do you “tell your story” without destroying your kids? We live in such a small town and have been very active- the perfect family with amazing kids. I have only told a few very trusted people my story. And, only his sisters (who know his tried self) about the sexual abuse. No one else, but my lawyer knows even a little of that. I know I have to stop reliving all of this. I want to divorce him and get rid of as many reminders as possible.

            • Perfect life, your story is really haunting me. First of all please take really good care of yourself as you heal from your hysterectomy. I carried some pretty shocking secrets for a full two years before I felt empowered enough to use my voice. My therapist helped me a lot. She helped me understand that if my kids don’t know what happened in their house during their entire childhood then they too feel betrayed and gaslighted. Please consider telling a few more people who you feel certain will validate you and believe you . Please consider telling your kids a bit more of the truth in an age appropriate way. This is very typical – the chump keeps the cheater’s secrets and the kids gravitate toward the cheater because he makes more sense – they see you being super upset (and rightfully so!) but they don’t know why so they accept the cheater version of events. Please disregard what I say if you are afraid for your safety. A good therapist can help you with this – it is really difficult to wrap your head around this stuff. I am almost 4 years out from Dday and am starting to feel very strong and very much on the road to meh. You aren’t alone perfect life! (((Hugs))))

              • Perfect Life, can you get your lawyer to have a judge sign off on an order for your STBX to leave you alone until you get your final check up from your Dr? I had the same problem and my divorce was put on hold until I had a final check up from my doctor and I was deemed healthy and healed.

              • Thank you all for the words of support and advise! I wake up in the middle of the night with intrusive thoughts and reading your replies this morning has helped so much. I feel really alone and have such anxiety and fear that I don’t go anywhere. I have become very isolated. He has worked on me for several years — I was once very outgoing and full of life and energy and happiness. Somehow, he has destroyed all my confidence and made me lose my big engaging life. I always felt he was envious of me and the last 3 or 4 years seemed to hate me. Now, I know he did hate me. I just don’t get how you hate and mistreat someone who arranges birthday parties for your 90 year old grandmother and is good to you and your children…… I can’t understand this kind of person. I just feel crushed and sickened. Being in this group is probably one of the most helpful things I have done so far. I am seeing a counselor which has helped, but I don’t want to be here anymore. He has ruined every places for me and so many of the things I loved doing. My dad passed away 18 years ago and my
                Mom has never been a good part of my life and now lives in a nursing home. His parents were my parents- and now I don’t have any contact with them either. Going to my church of 24 years is too hard, so I have lost contact with almost everyone there which is huge loss emotionally and spiritually. My son is so hurt that he can’t seem to stand being in our house now which is enormous and so empty with all my kids gone away to college. Ik ow exactly how he feels. I am losing my life bit by bit and I can’t seem to stop the landslide. I feel as though he has killed me my inside person and my body just has laid down and accepted it. How can one human being steal someone’s entire life from them? I don’t know how to get better, but reading the advise and stories is helping me to see that there is hope for ” better”.

            • I am not so sure everyone thinks he is as wonderful as you assume they do. Even if they do, enough people are gossipy hens that they will be overjoyed to see someone fall off their high horse. If someone asks you why your marriage didn’t work out, a simple straight forward “I uncovered x number of affairs and endured emotional abuse for decades.”

              I am positive a bunch of people have his number, you’re just afraid they won’t believe you. You don’t need to keep his secrets if you don’t want to.

              • Perfect life, my heart breaks for you. Give yourself grace and lots of it. The dam has burst and the water is still gushing.

                My cheater left in June 2016 and it took until November for me to have the courage to start going to church with my kids. The support of a friend and the priest got me there and it has been the biggest blessing in my life. In the meantime keep praying, and figure out who your trusted friends truly are. Keep coming here to know that you are not crazy and you are not alone. Many have walked this road

                Obvious to me and others but maybe not to you is the fact that you have amazing strength. To get yourself to a lawyer and file for divorce while a hysterectomy is looming is incredible. Hell, an open surgery hysterectomy is one of the most difficult and you don’t do it for the fun of it. You do it because those organs are seriously malfunctioning and it is the last option!

                These fuckwits don’t get it. They take everything and I mean everything as being about them and that you are doing this to inconvenious them. It is preposterous and you even if you point that out, they still do not get it!
                Others will get their selfishness but it is the rare person that hasn’t been through it that actually understands your pain. When you find those people, hug them, appreciate them and hold fast. .
                You are strong, you will survive, and you will be a better, happier person.

                Change your self talk. You are at the beginning of overcoming years of abuse. I am not at meh but a year later I believe I can get there some day.

                P.s. It is not what you tell your kids, it is what you show them.

        • PerfectLife,
          Many hearts and hugs to you. It would be terrible if your ex had a face fire, and someone put it out with an axe.
          Stay strong. You got this!

          • Dear PerfectLife,
            I just want to add more love and hugs along with those expressed to you by so many other Chumps on this site. I have become familiar with so many and to me they are like family.
            It is sad that you had the reasons to come to CN, but please know you are respected and loved. You are safe here.
            We got your back. We believe in you and are on your side.
            Follow your Chump Family’s advice, stay safe, and always be kind to yourself.
            You did nothing wrong.
            It is not who you are, it is who he isn’t!

            Love to you and your Children,

      • I used to get BV a lot and yeast infections.

        Been divorced since July 2016, stopped unprotected sex early 2016.
        No more infections. Ever.

    • Me too. Maybe all of us?
      We were in our 20’s, married a short time, and all the time I got these blasted UTI’s! I never considered cheating, we were in love! I know now, decades later, who he was with, several girls, bringing home their microbes to me, and my body did not like it! A couple of our male friends told me, when they knew I was leaving him. Jerks, male code of secrecy, I guess. One of them told me he thought I knew, and just accepted it, Aaargh!!! Too bad nobody came to me, and let me know.

      • Sigh. There’s a reason for condoms. Too bad we didn’t know we were screwing everyone that he’d ever screwed as well as their other lovers. EWWWW.

        My mom was right: you never know where they’ve been.

    • i kept getting bacterial infections – BV. (Which typically come with new partners introducing new flora). I’d never gotten it before him. Spontaneous amniotic sac break at 34 weeks due to reoccurring infection. It was weird to get them – i was faithful but now know the likely source was him.

      Messed around on me the entire marriage. Even while I was pregnant.

      • Lightbulb! There was a stretch of a few years when we weren’t having sex much. I attributed that to the kids being young and a handful. But I was having UTI, yeast infections, and bad “flora” often. A few years later, when things were better and we were having sex regularly, no problems. Then the problems started up again our last year together, a time when I know he was cheating.

        He had cheated on me years before- it just took until today to figure it out.

        • Another chump raising her hand! Oh the uti’s and yeast infections. Only now connecting the dots. Tip of the iceberg no doubt.

      • Same here. He had unprotected sex with his boss and then came home to me. My water broke at 34 weeks with our second child. The placenta was apparently infected. I had no explanation why this would happen to a healthy woman with no history of chronic infection. Now I know.

    • Yup-THIS!!!
      I thought my X was depressed, anxious, and struggling to function.
      What I learned is that he used online porn excessively on the daily, cheated via online hookup sites, and used escort services AND Asian massage parlors. Those are the things I can prove.

      So glad that I don’t have that concern or worry anymore

  • “I was so frustrated with my marriage I saw a hooker once.”

    Reality? 20+ hookers over a 25 year period, phone sex, cybersex, internet porn rooms and expenses of $150,000. +

    Police notified too. Largest brothel in our city shut down. Madame splashed on front pages. I hope wherever he was by then he was crapping himself

  • What I thought it was:

    I thought he was a wounded man who had fallen into sin because of the abuse from his past and the death of his mom. I believed if I stood for the marriage and prayed, God would bring him back.

    What it was:

    I married a real sociopath. It was an exit affair from a stone cold abandonment cheater. And none of this was my fault. He married the affair partner and I know he’s incapable of authentic love. He really has an empty elevator shaft where his soul should be.

    Newbies, if you have one of these, like CL says, the only question you should be asking yourself is how do I keep this freak as far away from me as possible.

    • Thank you. As a newbie here I appreciate the validation about letting my ex go. As much as I want to scream from the roof top I won’t do it. I figure it would put a road block in their relationship. She can have him. I don’t have to run away from him if he is running toward the sunset with dumb dumb. Will it last? Will he hoover? Who knows? She is dumb dumb and even more spineless than me. Bet he can wipe his dirty boots all over her for years. After DD1 he said he wanted to be available incase he met his soul mate. I think he meant a better door mat.

      • Thank you for this reminder that I should be glad Schmoopie is taking him off my hands. Most of the time I am still upset over his continued romance with Schmoopie because I have been sidelined. I expended so much effort over the years trying to accommodate his happiness only to be so callously discarded and replaced. I still have a hard time getting beyond that and probably will for years to come, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the advantages. A couple of weeks ago I almost felt sorry for him because he seemed really down. Then I realized that he had always been like that, even before he ever met me (according to his family). After years of living with that, it’s not my problem anymore, it’s hers. Right now she provides some relief from his miserableness, but it won’t last forever. I provided that relief too for many years until I became too worn out and familiar and he needed somebody fresher to meet his needs. Right now I bet she thinks she will always be the one who can make him feel better about himself and that she will always be good for him unlike his cold fish wife who didn’t care enough. I used to think I was the one who was good for him and would always be able to make him feel better. I was, until I wasn’t anymore and it wasn’t because I stopped caring or stopped trying.

        • It sounds to me like you’re making progress! You’ve realized that 1) he was always like that, and 2) he’s not your problem anymore. Though you still think that she’s providing relief for his miserableness, you haven’t yet realized that ‘he doesn’t care’. You’re attributing emotions to a sociopath. He doesn’t care. He didn’t care about you and he doesn’t care about her. She’s convenient. So when he dumps her, don’t believe that it’s due to his poor upbringing. He does not have the ability to care at all. Keep on thinking that you’re glad to not be dealing with his stupidity anymore until it finally sinks in. You WILL believe it someday and that’s when you will be at peace.

        • I can relate to this Chumpinrecovery. I’m at a point where DD is fresh, just a few months, and he is with Schmoopie. I can’t help but feel replaced but I know he is out there searching for something that is missing within himself. I couldn’t provide it and she won’t provide it either because it’s not on the outside. Smh…the chaos and heartache they cause others flitting from woman to woman like this. It’s so sad…I feel sorry for him. I know I’m lucky to have escape chumpdom but I’ve not achieved meh yet and it’s a hard journey.

        • ChumpinRecovery–displaying the sadz is the fastest and most efficient means for these jackasses to manipulate other people. Sadly, he doesn’t care about you, and (not so sadly), he doesn’t care about the OW, either. She is the sparkly new toy, which means he may exhibit the same joy a kid exhibits on Christmas morning, only to report being “bored” 3 days later.

          You’re still in the ‘painful’ stage where occasionally human emotional attributes can still be attributed to cheater–after all he LOOKs and ACTs like a normal human being. But he’s empty, and only “new” can simulate his void. Soon he’ll need “new” again, and you will be well on your way to a full life of integrity.

          • What is hard for me is that he thinks he cares about her (and is so valiantly trying to convince everyone else what a sweet kind wonderful person she is – pay no attention to that devastated chump over there in the corner). Based on my own experience, that stage could last a good five years or so (3-4 more now) before devalue starts to set in. By the time he’s done with devalue, he may be too old and worn out himself to bother going fishing again. I guess that is when sweet, kind Schmoopie (not) will get her comeuppance because she will be stuck with a grumpy old man.

            As for the display of emotions, he is laying that one thick on my daughter as he jumps through hoops trying to get her to accept his choices. I fear it may be starting to work as he is bringing the full brunt of his manipulative powers to bear. He is even enlisting the aid of Schmoopie’s enabler friend who our daughter does like (she has lost two children so that makes her a good person). I can’t say anything, however because A. I signed an agreement promising not to say bad things about him or Schmoopie to the kids and B. I don’t want my daughter to think I am trying to manipulate her and I have never been one to tell my kids what to think. C. If I point out how STBX is using the friend to manipulate daughter that might sound like I am dissing somebody who has lost two children and that would make me insensitive.

            • Trust that cheaters suck! I can tell you are still focusing in him. Worry about you and what you are doing. It doesn’t matter what he is doing with dumb dumb right now. This is info you should not have, should not seek. When it comes up in conversation shut it down. Every now and then we all fall off the wagon and try to figure out what they did, what they are doing now, what are they telling people. Tell yourself the truth. They are running off into the sunset but they are never going to reach the sun. It’s an illusion. It’s all shallow and for show. People who are capible of deep feelings and empathy don’t lie and cheat on anyone. Chances are he has always been like this and you have been spackling it over. I am not at Meh and have to retell myself my story all the time and remind myself he sucks. He seems so nice and I feel people will believe his sadz story about his cold wife. I use anger and rage as a warm blanket then focus on making my life better.

            • Cir, so much of your post applies to me verbatim that I thought I must have written the first paragraph.

              I have been mulling over a session I had with kid’s therapist and youngest son this week. He was talking about bringing stbx in with ds so ds could express his feelings io stbx in a safe place where therapist would be his “bodyguard ” so he wouldn’t have to be afraid. Separately I expressed my fear that stbx would say the right thing in the session but outside go back to his usual manipulation.

              His response was to affirm this is what happened to my older son with a different therapist except they never had the control session together where stbx was told he wasn’t allowed to blame feeling it and that he had to listen to the kid’s feelings and respond accordingly. If he doesn’t do that over time, the child has the right to choose not see him.

              I believe that is what would happen because I do not think he will change. However the idea of putting ds in the room with him still scares me. It is like putting them together to practice a trapeze act where stbx has to catch do. Don’t worry, we have instructors and nets, it’s all safe but eventually they will be in the show without the net.

              DS asked to sleep in my room after that session. He hasn’t done that since the week stbx left over a year ago.

          • Yep. My ex would cry soulfully looking straight in my eyes. I felt like i was the jerk for even doubting him! He also invoked his dead brother’s grave “I swear on my brothers grave I’m telling you the truth!” – the dead brother whom we named our son after. I was told never to bring it up the incident to his parents as his mother was so devastated she had to go to a psych ward.

            A huge lie to manipulate me into feeling sorry for him. It worked for years. I discovered it after the divorce, when I got out of the orbit.

            Anyway, he was self-described upstanding, conservative man with family values. Who hooked up with coworkers, escorts and human trafficking sort of massage parlors; starting. from the first year we were married.

            And then there’s the money issues…

            Newbies – it’s worse than you think! My only regret is not kicking him to the curb years earlier.

            • Mine invoked his dead grandfather.

              “My Deda would spit on me if he was alive!” Was what he said to me, crying uncontrollably.

              All the while he went underground and continued texing and seeing the OW.

              I foolishly told my covert narc MIL and she told me to never bring it up with the rest of his family (who I was conveniently seeing soon) because all their opinions that could ruin our chances of working things out and it was better off keeping things private.

              Huge manipulators the both of them. They manipulated me into 1) feeling sorry for him 2) not screaming it from the rooftops before they could control the narrative.

        • I feel discarded too sometimes. The story I tell myself is that I caught him. He acted sad and was willing to pretend I didn’t know what was happening (Generous! Haha!). I am the one who technically call it. That makes OW plan B. Hoovering is plan C. We are still married and I need to start pretending to be grateful to make sure I get a good divorce. Pretend we grew apart but are still friends. He wants to look like a “nice guy.” ????

          • To those who feel abandoned…I believe we need to reframe our thinking. We were not discarded, so much as we were saved. Fucktard (ex) didn’t just change overnight. His cheating and lies are Who He Was, and CL is spot on when she says it’s often “the tip of the iceberg.” Granted he was very successful in many things but connecting/relating/bonding to others wasn’t one. My marriage seemed good but I believe he was behaving poorly the entire time we were together. I was clueless and trusting, like many here, but can’t fault my pure heart. Most of us Chumps are also extremely competent too, which works in their favor, as we are often running our lives with great skill and not expecting too much from our spouses. We expect them to do their fair share, and be all in, same as us. Authentic. When we are with the disordered though we can possess everything good but still feel there is something wrong. That was one of my red flags. Our gut knows. Many of us were also married to very skilled actors. When ex’s luck ran out, on Dday when Puzzle prices began falling into place, it was a culmination of years of his poor life skills and crap life choices. Like that snowball going down hill and growing bigger and bigger…He seemed to make the same selfish decisions over and over without learning to be a better person. Dday saved me.

        • Wow, Chumpinrecovery, that sounds exactly like my life with my ex. Fortunately, he moved far away with shmoopie so I don’t have to see his sad face. She can deal with him now. For the 38 years I’ve known him, he’s never changed. Don’t see that happening now either.

    • Newbie surfing the archives here. Maybe you’ll get an email notification lol. Thank you for sharing your experience! The question that is paralyzing me is, “How can I keep the creep at arm’s length, raise a healthy daughter, and keep some fraction of the small fortune I built for cheater’s Instagram glory?”
      The answer is not file immediately or get a pitbull lawyer as far as I can assess. My hope is a pre-trial settlement where I am primary custodian. These are very rare for the male breadwinner in my state. I am ruminating on the possibilities all day every day! There’s a stockpile big enough to give everyone security but in the perfect range for lawyers to have a feast and eat me alive.
      I’m looking at a paralegal to help file uncontested. If you are willing, please send up a prayer (really right now for me please) that my offer and negotiation and timing are perfect. Thanks chump nation!

  • I used to believe that if you prayed that God would save the sinner. Pure fantasy thinking. Only a person can save him or herself. Don’t put the blame on God or the devil. Put the blame where it belongs- on the loser.

    • Yep. People have to want to be redeemed. Most don’t. You have to repent to be forgiven and they don’t. They are not sorry.

      • ^^This^^

        I pray with a minister from my church most days of the week and I have come to realize that God is a gentleman. He doesn’t force himself on you…these people think they got away with something….they don’t want help. So I pray for myself and my kids instead now. He’s going to face God one day…..

    • God gives each of us free will and will not rescind the gift – even when they act in a way that is horribly wrong and betray everything that matters.

      I went to daily Mass for his soul for 7 years and then he dropped dead. 7 is the number of completion. I think he was headed back to a dark place and God took him before he walked back into sin. While his death saved me from further hurt, I think it was more to save nowdeadcheater than it was to save me. Nothing else would have saved him.

    • My mom was in the convent and used to say to us kids, particularly when we were looking for divine intervention after goofing off and having to be ready for something important – test, presentation, etc. . “God only helps those who help themselves.”

      It’s harsh but truthful.

  • What I thought it was : a single emotional affair with Susan who he turned to in the midst of a depression and life changes. It was a midlife crisis brought on by career failure. I was strong and would hold our family together and keep his place for him to return to. We were married in the Church and it was for life.

    What it was : chronic serial cheating that may have dated back to our dating years…he was so avoidant of social events that included school then work…now I see there were likely OWs all along. He maintained to his last breath that he never had sex with the one OW I knew of…that seems so wildly absurd now. His distance, chronic anger, endless hostility…all makes perfect sense now. I dont know that his commitment was ever solid enough that our “vows” were ever real.

    • Interesting your red flag was him not wanting to go to social or work events.

      Mine was he didn’t want me there because, “we only talk about work stuff. You’d find it boring.”

      I knew he was close to OW and I told him to invite her and their other friend over to our house for dinner and wine.

      It didn’t sit well with me, but I thought ok fair enough. I tried.

      Gaslit to the extreme.

  • What I thought it was:

    He moved out because of a “depression” that descended upon him after *my* mother died and that he needed to work things out and figure out how to make our rocky (thanks to his prior serial cheating) relationship better again.

    What it really was:

    The depression was a lie. The grief was a lie. The attempts to get well (by seeing an individual and several couples counselors) — all lies. He had lined up his next victim. Some troll 30 years his senior that he was already fucking around with *while* my mother was dying. When he left me, he shacked up w her but kept the charade going for 6 months before moving in with her (one block from my house).

    I hope they both burn in hell. (Still working on meh, obviously). 🙂

  • I explained away my ex’s first abandonment of me and his 2 small children as a midlife crisis. He was in fellowship and working all nighter’s all the time. My 4 year old son knew daddy was tired all the time. He even played with his baby sister’s doll house and put the daddy up in the bedroom asleep while the mommy, kids, and dog were down in the kitchen. What I didn’t know was he was spending his nights chatting with first schmoopie. She was twice divorced and a known cheater amongst the other nurses. Her nickname was Crazy _____. Everyone saw that except my cheater.

    I spent months trying to untangle that skein. The only big hits coming back on the internet pertained to midlife crisis. Granted we were in our early 30’s. I labeled it that when he came begging back. Let him move in to the small house the kids and I had moved to as we were finalizing the divorce.

    I ignored earlier red flags (strip clubs and lying about it, lots of porn). After wreckonciliation I ignored those same red flags that continued for years. I put up with his high maintenance and realized I was the giver and he was the taker in the relationship. Oh he told me it was me that was never happy with anything. I questioned myself and tried harder. My kids have not had a ‘normal’ childhood. He discarded our son when he wasn’t living up to expectations. Our daughter became the golden child, she gave lots of kibbles because she brought the kibbles in from others (she played sports and was the best player).

    When schmoopie 2.0 came into the picture, I recognized the warning signs from years earlier. I sat on it for a bit because surely a 40 something year old dad wouldn’t possibly be screwing around with our 14 y.o. daughter’s 20 something y.o. assistant soccer coach. Surely he wouldn’t bring that kind of drama into our children’s lives at school? The answer of course is yes he would. It’s all about him. Always has been. If he felt the butterflies and thought this young coach would bring him the kibbles, the rest of us can just eat that ole shit sandwich. How utterly embarassing for your wife and kids.

    He ditched us again so he could ride off into the sunset to chase his young schmoopie. I got mighty. Secured those prize posessions (family pictures that he bitched about every time I pulled out the camera), financial documents, and saw a lawyer. I told my lawyer to get it done fast as when the sparkles wore off, he would be circling back around.

    The lesson for the newbies I guess is don’t underestimate them. Don’t project your values onto them. The entitled have a way of justifying their horrendous behaviors to themselves and their schmoopies. There is always another schmoopie out there and if your cheater doesn’t have the willpower, they will engage. It’s a buffet of ho and they just can’t pass it up. It took 2 schmoopies and 2 Ddays separated by years for me to see this. My bald, ugly ass middle-aged ex has a pretty good sized wallet and MD after his name–super attractive to some ho’s. I know now there’s nothing off limits if he’s willing to humiliate his family for the twu wuvs. What would be next? Our son’s one day girlfriend or MIL? Our daughter’s roommate in college some day?

    These things don’t ‘just happen’. There’s not twu wuv dust floating through the air and sprinkling on unicorns. They are like a loaded grenade just waiting to explode at any moment. Best to get as far away as possible.

    • MJB
      You always give such good advice to Newbies and to all Chumps.
      You have been through so much and YOU, dear Lady, have come out on top!
      You are mighty!
      It is unbelieve the multitude of shit sandwiches served on sour dough bread that so many Chumps have choked down.
      Not anymore for you MJB. Not anymore.
      You are my hero!


    • “Don’t project your values onto them. The entitled have a way of justifying their horrendous behaviors to themselves and their schmoopies. There is always another schmoopie out there and if your cheater doesn’t have the willpower, they will engage.”

      This right here!

      • “Hunting all the time” perfect. I think this is so true. When I first met stbx through a mutual friend at a social gathering, he was completely aloof and I felt like he looked right through me. I thought “what a snob.” An hour later, he came to the table where I was seated, handed me a drink and struck up a conversation. By the end of the evening he was asking me to a concert that was still months away.

        Years later when I said, I thought you were such a snob when we first met, he said he was caught off guard, didn’t expect me to be there. Years later, I look at that differently. I know he hates surprises and he is very hard to surprise. He wants complete control over the situation. Even if he had known to expect a new guest, he would have sized me up as a hunter evaluating his prey. Normal people can be caught off guard and still warmly greet a newcomer.

        I also think of a mother of one of my son’s teammates whom my husband greatly admired and our first encounter. We were at the first parent meetin for the team and upon introduction, I got the same reaction that I got from my stbx upon meeting him. I had similar thoughts. Weeks later she sits down next to me at a game and talks to me like she wants to be my best friend. Ds is proving to be an asset to the team. Stbx and this woman are still Facebook friends and I wonder if it was ever more.

    • Sorry you went through this! Glad you are away from this creep! You are mighty! Thanks for the advice!

    • “Don’t project your values onto them. The entitled have a way of justifying their horrendous behaviors to themselves and their schmoopies.”


    • “These things don’t ‘just happen’. There’s not twu wuv dust floating through the air and sprinkling on unicorns. They are like a loaded grenade just waiting to explode at any moment. Best to get as far away as possible.”

      Cheaters love to insist to their chumps that their affairs “just happened” and they were “powerless to stop it!”

      But that’s just more lies. Get the fuck away from the ticking time bomb.

    • Regarding CL’s remark on it’s just the tip of the ice berg. Before I found CN my therapist told me the same thing, this was before I discovered X had an AP. Although it couldn’t have been more obvious.
      I was in serious denial and foolishly believed all the absurd lies X fed me.
      At that time I thought X having an AP, impossible, the therapist is using a blanket statement which doesn’t apply to my X. Someone sent me photos of X with AP at an air show and I still wouldn’t believe it.
      Foolishly I spackled, they were friends enjoying a nice afternoon. I’m shaking my head as I’m writing this, duh, Brit this is your husband with another woman. If someone had presented photos of them naked, boinking each other I’m sure I’d have spackled that too. ” Uh, I know, they decided to spend the afternoon at a nudist camp for some rest and relaxation and they fell down and were struggling to get back up.”
      I held on to this image I had in my mind of who he was and claimed to be, not the truth of who he is.
      They don’t become possessed, they haven’t been a victim of an alien abduction or brain washing.
      Cheating is a conscious decision made by Cheater. They’re fully aware of the consequences and don’t care.

      • During the time before dd number 1 I knew something was off. I was trying everything. He always complained I never went to his dd softball games. So I went one time unannounced. :)). He acted mad to see me and wouldn’t kiss me hello. 10 mins later someone comes in front of him puts her hand on his shoulder and said goodbye. Didn’t know who this was till he brought her to my house TO GIVE ME CLOSURE. that image on that day still is burned into my brain. He still claims he “doesn’t remember her ever being at a game “. Great I’ll always remember.

  • What I thought it was:
    Him befriending an older, unhappy, ugly coworker.
    What it really was:
    Him falling in love with, clearing out our savings for, buying a house with, and screwing that coworker (no protection, passing on viral STDs to me).
    So much for Hopium!

  • What I thought it was:

    A mid-life crisis to explain the thousands of dollars I couldn’t account for going missing from our joint savings account.

    What it was:

    An immature gutless bastard who had joined multiple dating sites over the last 12 months and was spending thousands of dollars on credits to talk to his ‘queens’ in the Ukraine. A stone cold abandonment Jesus cheater who is now dragging out the divorce.

    • During a bad period in our marriage (he was angry that I was angry about always being invalidated and minimized) my husband also joined dating sites and sent thousands of dollars in cash and prizes to a girl in Ukraine, 30 years younger than him. I don’t know how long it took him to find this particular girl, but he’s been in contact with her for three years. Last Christmas he spent a lot of time planning nice gifts to send her. He got me a few used gifts from Good Will. Last year, rather than give her up, he cheerfully helped me move into the guest room. I found emails with them gushing to each other about being “best friends”, “destiny”, and planning to meet.
      Ironically, a number of years ago, he had a coworker whose wife left him for a man she met online. At the time, this was absolutely scandalous. My husband has always professed to be a moral, upstanding man, and he was very vocally critical of what a “ho” this woman was. And then he basically did the same thing she did, but rationalized it as helping his Ukrainian girl with “English lessons” to better her life, and he actually said he would not give her up because she helps him see “how lucky he is to live in the US.” Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.
      I’m still hanging around, saving money. Still in the guest room. My husband claims it’s all over between him and the hot Ukrainian 20-something, but is still secretive with his phone, email, and bank accounts. He is obviously expecting to sweep everything under the rug and act like it never happened. I don’t believe for a second he has stopped contacting her – she’s his bestest friend ever, after all. But I am planning and figuring out how to take care of myself without him.
      If he had merely wanted to help someone pay for their “education”, he wouldn’t have needed a dating site to find someone. That’s not what dating sites are for.
      In my case, even though he told me his version of “what it was”, I never believed him. After all, his dating site profile specifically stated he was looking for a woman in a much younger age range than I’m in, for marriage. I’m a chump, but I’m not stupid.

      • Good luck with the exit plan. The sooner you can get out, the better.

        I had one of these “good Samaritans” too. He wanted to help 25 year old waitresses working on a GED with their education. He wouldn’t help his kids with their homework, but a hot blonde, why that was an act of “charity” he could find time for!

    • What I thought he was (having been convinced by him and the therapeutic community): A Sex Addict that could recover and make our marriage “better than ever”.

      What he really is (after educating myself on alternative theories to Sex Addiction): A Cluster B psychopath that no one can help and no one should be married to.

      • BOOM! This! Exactly the same thing happened to me.

        I wrote on every page of TWO “Mending a Shattered Heart” workbooks for spouses of “sex addicts.” Thousands of words, extra pages jammed in to sections like anger triggers.

        When I kicked his serial cheating ass to the curb he left everything behind, including his Cairns workbook “Out of the Shadows.” After a year, I was throwing all his things away and I looked at it. There were only two entires written in it– hundreds of blank pages! Hundreds! Over 3 months of sex addict therapy and SA meetings — he only wrote 3 words! On a page that questioned what happened he wrote: “the affair.” Singular! When he had at least 4 over 25 years that I have proof of. On another page where it asked about things he’d lied about he wrote one word “drugs.” That’s it!

        It was astonishing. I still can hardly believe it. But, that’s who he is: blank, void, souless, no remorse, no insight…… horrifying.

        Evil, pure evil.

        Remembering this helps remind me why I’m divorced, why I am completely no contact. Why I had to put down the hopeium pipe and turn away from my 25 years of dreams of a life with him and build a new life where he has no role whatsoever.

  • Having suffered years of abuse, including unfounded allegations of cheating (!!) and non-stop criticisms and silent treatments, I thought she had a short fling due to me being a bad husband and it was all my fault. My suspicions of an affair were initially confirmed when I saw an email from a clinic that treats STDs which she attended after a weekend away from the family. She initially lied about the clinic (making clear to me she was seeing someone) and faced with the truth she confirmed it was a one night stand (which made sense with the knowledge of an STD test) and said it was over.

    The next day I found a pregnancy kit (she had never mentioned it before then, which is odd not to mention to your husband) and the never ending feeling I wasn’t getting the whole truth came out.

    I then obsessed over the detail of her behaviour, her emails, her phone bills – she eventually confessed it was over two years, but only ever confirmed things I caught her out on… never any voluntary disclosure. She also stated she was NC, despite still working together, and purported to offer me open access to her devices so I could check if I wanted to.

    I later found sexting between them (on her work phone) and at that point told the OM’s wife who dug out his phone bills which made it clear it never ended, they just went underground and communicated via new means. It became clear she had actively made plans to lie and deceive me over a long period of time, all the while abusing me for all sorts of things. We were planning to buy a new home (with massive up front costs) when I caught her – hardly the signs of a marriage about to end, yet she was also planning to leave me if only her fuckbuddy (who has NPD) would take her.

    My only mistake – not keeping it quiet until I had ducks lined up and lawyer engaged and a temporary flirtation with Wreckonciliation. Post D-Day and me telling her it is over, she has become utterly unhinged. Compulsive/pathological liar, cognitive distortions/gaslighting, extreme entitlement (everything from the divorce) and pathological need to be right and superior. A lot of that was present in the marriage, but no where near as bad as now. The mask is off, so no need to hide it, I guess.

    • Yikes! It sounds like she was trying to get you to buy a fancy house- for them! If you’re not free yet, be careful.

    • What I thought on DDay:

      It was all my fault for failing to be attentive enough to my husbands “needs” in spite of years spent trying to figure out what those “needs” were and trying to be attentive to them. I must be a complete loser for failing so miserably after having tried so hard. When he gave the MC the long list of my transgression I actually contemplated the possibility that it was a valid list and I screwed up my marriage by not trying hard enough.

      What I have figured out since then with the help of friends, family (including his) and a therapist:

      He is a high maintenance, selfish, self centered, chronically depressed jerk who was projecting all of his worst faults onto me and throwing himself a pity party for having had such a hard life while blaming me because he refuses to take responsibility for his own misery.

      • “He is a high maintenance, selfish, self centered, chronically depressed jerk who was projecting all of his worst faults onto me and throwing himself a pity party for having had such a hard life while blaming me because he refuses to take responsibility for his own misery.”

        Saving this to read over and over until it rolls from my tongue every time someone asks why we broke up.

        • Sadly me too. He actually told me that I “disempowered him”… um… you were the one manipulating my reality and financial security?

      • This is exactly my stbx character: depressed, distant man who avoided social gatherings except those he was certain of people liking him.
        What I thought and sister helped me to think like that: he was depressed, miserable man who suffered from child trauma( father committed suicide) and mother a cold serial cheater and who was suffering from guilt due to his cheating. While wreckconciliation, he used to cry like a baby with snot in his nose and for me( dumb ) i thought those tears were proof of his sincere regret and deep guilt.
        What I found out ( through email exchange between the two): i was the thing/obstacle who stood on their way for being together to live their one and only love.
        I am still new to this and I’m still in deep pain, but thanks to my mighty mother who helps me look at him as a dog turd, sad sausage who will never ever be happy.

        • Same, girl. he only really liked going out with people he was sure they already liked him.

          I remember we went to an interstate wedding of some friends of mine from high school. he actually had the gall to say to me “who are all these people?” and I was like “my friends!” Sure, we didn’t see them often as we lived on the opposite side of the country, but I had clearly talked about them. I had told him I grew up with them, we’d been friends for 20 years by that stage. Narc-y couldn’t believe I actually had friends outside of him. It wasn’t suprising given the context that I was supposed to organise our social life and when I failed he had no choice but to fuck around with the OW as our life was “so boring.”

        • The tears are the worst. I saw snot too. I thought it meant he was feeling real emotions. He was just really sad that I found out.

          • oh my God, the sad sausage never stops behaving like the wretched, victimised soul. Today i met him( at the entrance of the building where i live) after three months to give him his bank card and other stuff! He looked like a wretched man who has been victimised by heartless woman( probably me). wow! he just came back from a two months vacation with her. This is the acting that i was trapped in and deluded my mind during the short wreck-conciliation(3 months Thanks God I found out the truth immediately).

    • “Compulsive/pathological liar, cognitive distortions/gaslighting, extreme entitlement (everything from the divorce) and pathological need to be right and superior. A lot of that was present in the marriage, but no where near as bad as now.”

      OMG – that is my STBXH exactly. He admitted to two “friendships” with two different women, 3 years apart, that made him want to divorce his wife. When he finally announced he wanted a divorce at year 16 and owned up to the two OW, he said he was sorry for hurting me and our children. Then “friend #2” left him. He became “unhinged” as you call it. The entitlement and superiority complex had always been there – add pathological lying and gaslighting – and crank it all up to unbelievable levels. He has even told me, his lawyers, and everyone I know that I never loved him, was a serial cheater, was “sexually flirtatious” with multiple men, and disrespected him with other men to the point that I destroyed his love for me. Apparently delaying my career for years so I could birth, breastfeed, and raise four children (while he got to travel and advance in his career) left me with a lot of time for illicit activities. I didn’t realize that talking about diaper brands with a dad at playgroup was being sexually flirtatious…

  • What I thought is was: Joining gyms and working out to help her feel better about herself.

    What it was: “Cardio” in hotel rooms or in parked cars with her personal trainer and/or her COW.

  • What I thought it was:

    “You are my best friend, the man I’ve built my life with, and you and the girls mean more to me than anything in the world. So I want to be honest with you: I’ve met a man who I feel like I’ve come to have a real connection with, and I’d like to know if you’d be willing to consider having an open marriage.” I thought: Holy shit, here’s someone who thinks so much of our life together and the family we’ve created, that she doesn’t want to jeopardize it by having an affair. She’s actually confessing a strong attraction, respecting my feelings and my trust in her enough to bring it to me, and opening a honest dialog about a potentially difficult topic, like mature life partners do. I sure am fortunate, the least I can do is have a conversation about it.

    What it really was:

    A set-up. Pure and simple. She took the approach she did because she knew I’d have the reaction I described. She used all of my empathy, trust and decency against me and used it as a launching point for months of emotional manipulation and abuse.

    • That sounds just like the BS what’s her face was pushing the other day. Your ex is so “enlightened”. Just talk about it and is all ok.

    • UX – “A set-up. Pure and simple.”

      His manipulations is what blew my mind the most.
      X had the time to actually figure out how to make me be gone for 2 wks at a time, encouraging the travel, and delicately planning his life with his fuck in my home while I was gone. It involved her becoming his new wife in ‘my home, my bathtub, my bed’. Bizarre how sick he was to actually think that would work. And, she did too. Playing house is exactly what they were doing.

      I thought:
      It was him becoming a home-body watching the dogs while I was away with the other dogs, showing.

      What it turned out to be was making big plans to get me out of the home we built, stealing lots of money, and romancing his Stone. The disappointment in his character is one of the most devastating things about the entire 35 yr marriage.

    • Uxworld, that sounds super familiar, I had the same attitude throughout to my spouse: grateful


  • What’s with them cheating with older ugly low life women? Mine did the same thing. I told him after I found out that he could have done much better. Sad…..

    • My Ex H OW is a real low life trashy much older woman.

      She has a face like a horse.

      My Sister saw a picture of her and said that woman is very ugly and has a hideous mouth. I said she has a hideous mouth in more than one way. Total Trollope.

      • Lol. Yes they do. Because they always say they just had oral sex….ie not a real affair. Yeah….ok

        • hahahah that’s what mine said!

          it was only oral!

          and just once!

          they were drunk!

          ahahahahahah cheaters are all the same. so unoriginal.

      • Same here..I said to my BF that at least he could have cheated with someone better looking then me. She was so frumpy looking. He said to me looks aren’t everything. He said he was with her because she was horny. He met her on a dating website.

          • I’ve said the same thing, slightly differently, for almost 17 years now, since finding out about cheater #1 —- throw me over for a super model, sure OK, I got it. But a horse-faced, drug addicted, convicted felon that looks like she was ridden hard and put away wet? Uuuhhhh, not so much.

            • This is so true, mine had one six years younger; but she looked way older, fatter and literally so much makeup you wonder if she uses a putty knife to apply it. She had a arsonist husband, a murderer for one son, a drug dealer for the other son and 2 other kids. She had multiple bankruptcies,
              unpaid tickets that went to warrants. This, for a man who got a vasectomy because he didn’t want kids. There really is no explanation or rhyme or reason.

          • Oh yes, all about the sex. Stbx said it was “new and fresh”. The next breath he told me they would lay there and talk about how abused they both were in their marriages! Wtf!

            I know , however, she is much more sexually adventurous than me because I would never consider having sex with someone I met drunk at a bar immediately upon leaving the bar. Never mind that both were married.

        • same here, not because I consider myself beautiful, but at least i know I’m warm, loving, and attractive, but she is really ugly, cold and self-absorbed ( i know her, we had wine with her and lunches, she was introduced to me as a good friend). the few times i have met her, she only talked about herself. She once invited us to a pizza place that was supposed to be one of the great pizza places as she said. and to my surprise she ordered meat ball! I mean meat balls a a pizza place? I think she must be boring. whatever..

      • The OW in my case has the skin tone of a boiled lobster – bright red. Her eyes look like two halves of a raisin stuck in a ball of red dough. Her nose looks like someone surgically implanted a football in the middle of her face. She is a blonde and has blonde fuzzballs covering her beet red arms. Her figure is a carpenter’s dream – flat as a board.

        • He’s about 20 yrs older than her, not a good twenty years and truly inferior in every way to me. Sex couldn’t be the attraction, because you’d still have to get to the point of having sex before you knew it was.
          That’s when I realized this was a much bigger issue. In my mind, the person you are in a relationship with is like an exclusive club or should be and I don’t want to be in a club that wants grandpa as a member.

  • What I thought it was: A “crush” on a 26 year old Capt. serving under him in Afghanistan, brought on by stressful conditions and being far from home.

    What it was: Full blown affair (probably not the first.) Dating sites. Daily porn obsession. Prostitutes. Lots and lots of prostitutes. Specialist prostitutes costing $800 an hour, that he booked flights to see. It was a big barrel of lies.

  • I’m still not sure what it really was/is and I can’t put the shovel down. I can’t stand being in the dark and not knowing the full picture, regardless of how ugly it is I WANT TO KNOW!

    I’m stuck on this presently.

    • Towanda, I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this, but ask yourself if knowing would change anything about your path forward? If you know enough to know this relationship isn’t acceptable to you, it doesn’t matter how much more there is. Re-read CL’s post Untangling the Skein of Fuckedupedness, and do your best to put down the shovel and start the divorce process. You will never hear the whole truth from your cheater, and the time and energy you might spend trying to track it down is time and energy better spent on YOU! I was married almost 25 years, and my ex-hole only admitted the things I could prove. It was making me crazy trying to understand what he did and why he did it, but reading daily here made me finally realize it just wasn’t worth it. It was hurting me more than it was helping me, and I hope you can see that as well and put your time and energy into building your fabulous, cheater-free life!!

      • Towanda, I’d say you know the whole picture, or at least the big pieces of it. He cheats. He abuses alcohol and drugs. He’s no good for you or your kids.

        • And of course, if he’s an addict, he lies about everything. So the truth is elusive in any case.

    • Of course you want to know the reality of the life you were living! I remember that feeling well! It sucks to think you had the wool pulled over your eyes ????! Here are the things that helped me get over having to know. After having spent 5 years in false reconciliation, I spent plenty of time trying to piece that puzzle together.

      1) The reasons, when all said and done, will never make sense to you! You’ve been labeled and branded the “problem” by the cheater. “You over-cooked my steak” will never be a valid reason for cheating – there is no VALID REASON.

      2) Their narrative is not the truth. It is a self serving, selfish narrative that gives them license to be an asshole!

      3) Their reasons, their timelines, their behavior does not change your reality… which of course is you were mistreated, misinformed and living a lie. Knowing what those lies were, still won’t change it.

      4) Having all the information will not prevent it from happening in the future – cheaters cheat because they want to, not because of something you do or don’t do!

      5) Infidelity steals so much of your life… hopes, dreams, innocence, and the belief in a fair and just world. Accepting that doing the right thing and being a good person doesn’t determine the outcome of your life is a hard pill to swallow. We think if we take precautions and understand the ins and outs, it will somehow shelter us from harm.
      “If I walk on this sidewalk I won’t get hit by a car… until of course that person in their new sports car looses control and end up running you over”
      “If I invest my money wisely, that’s better than gambling it away… until of course Bernie Madoff is found to be a fraud”

      It takes time to put the shovel down, but the sooner that you do, the sooner you can start moving on. You’ll get there!

    • @Towanda – Take it from another on the path, what do you really need to know? Why do you need to know? What is the benefit of knowing? Like EyesOpenNow, I am sorry as it sucks to have the damage we have. I know it is hard, but the energy is better spent on you, not your past. How does knowing further help? You and I were duped in many, many ways and I know I would always love to know how, but for me, I accept that I know what I know and it is enough. Heal yourself and stand strong, put down the shovel, it really isn’t needed.

      • Creative screen name BSOD! I think we all need to know up to a certain point, then we turn to looking within and healing.

        • Not sure what BSOD means, but you always make a lot of sense to me. BSOD – you screwed my hopium head on tight and crushed my rose-colored glasses. But, it took me a very long time to figure out I didn’t really need to ‘know’ anything about why he did what he did.
          It has taken me 3 years…

          Indeed – ‘Heal yourself and stand strong.’

          • Shechump – Thanks. This is a part of what I have had to tell myself and at some point I found that I really don’t need more. What my wife did, she did. I am 12 going on 13 weeks in and am very much still learning but at some point I had to give up knowing more for myself. She cheated, she chose her affair partner over her husband of 17 years and has pissed everything else away for her own selfish “needs”. In the end, it is that simple.

            Datdamwuf – You beat me to it – thanks!

    • Towanda
      I’m in the minority here but I wanted to know a lot. As CL writes somewhere I was looking for my personal tipping point to propel myself out of the relationship. This is just how I handle things. I need a lot of information as it makes me feel more in control. Did I really need it? Who cares. I wanted it. I had multiple spreadsheets all colour coded for each OW. 1, 2 and 3 for easy reference. I had their timelines all plotted out against mine. My now ex pretty much complied with the details. He’s a bit passive. I was not. After a while it all sunk in, the who, the where, the when, the how. I just stopped one day about 4 months in. I had enough. I still find things out now but by accident not design and I just shrug. I am divorced. It’s of no further consequence.
      It’s a personal decision. Can you ever ‘know’, will they tell, why do you need it etc but I did and for me it helped. I needed to rethink that period of my life while he was cheating with all this information. It was my way of handling the trauma.

      • I totally understand about the tipping point! My tipping point would be that if he was cheating the 6 years between the first time and this time. Those 6 years we were supposedly rebuilding out relationship from the first time he cheated til now when we were planning on moving in together, getting married and retiring together. I’m still looking but don’t know if I will ever know for sure. The only person who knows for sure is him and his daughter. He brought the last one to his house to screw so she knows his was screwing around one me. She is 27 but still know she won’t tell on her dad.

      • I still want to know, am still trying to figure out the timeline, perhaps looking for the tipping point. In my hopium haze, I am also trying to believe it doesn’t help to dwell in the past, that the ONLY way we stand a chance at moving forward as a couple is for me to eat that sandwich….but refuse to take any more. I am already teetering, and he knows it. I am scared.

        • ” I am already teetering, and he knows it. I am scared.”

          Me too, Ivy League. Me too.

      • My personal tipping point was a combination of three things:

        1. Uncovering Schmoopie #2.
        2. Lost my respect when I realized I was dealing with a manchild.
        3. Seeing a future where I play the role of mother until the day I change his bed pan.

        Never looked back since.

    • Of course you are stuck in this – he stole your reality from you and you want to know the truth! I hope you can find out as much as you can. There will come a time when you say this is enough; I know enough. If you can’t find out information, you can piece together a semblance of what might have happened from reading stories of other chumps, and by trusting your gut and gut feelings. Sometimes you will wake up in the morning with an Aha moment. Oh! this probably happened…
      Also time will help a lot. I am at a point now where I know only the tip of the iceberg but that is enough for me because I went through a long process of trying to piece together my reality of the last 10 years. Do trust your gut; if you think something happened it probably did. Don’t discount that by telling yourself you don’t know for sure. Do not be hard on yourself for wanting to know – that is a natural human reaction. Give it time. The horribleness of not knowing will get better.

      • Putting the shovel down was a simple, “You’ve got enough evidence” from my therapist.

        Yup, I could trust that he sucks.

    • I know, you guys are all correct. I just can’t seem to get ‘there’ in my head. It’s not that I need the details to know he sucks, or because I think this is salvageable. Capricorn is on to what it is with me, I need the details to feel I have control.

      I’ve been an investigator in my career for the last 11 years. Everyday when I go to work I am trying to uncover lies, patterns, and piece the truth together. I’m good at my job, but I can’t get to the bottom of what my own partner of 9 YEARS has been doing behind my back?!!!! It’s maddening. It triggers something in me.

      Obviously this is a personal challenge/hurdle to overcome but I’m just in the struggling with it phase.

      • One reason you may find it impossible to figure it all out is that the cheater may not really even have the answers. Some cheaters keep their own charts and revel in the number of conquests they’ve had, but others are so pathological in their lies, that they don’t really know if they had 3 accounts on Match or 5, gave a couple hundred to their Schmoopie or a a couple thousand dollars, etc. They live in the moment creating a justifying narrative for each decision–and that means telling one lie to Schmoopie, one to you, one to a friend who knows about the affair, etc. Asked the truth, they are nearly paralyzed because they truly don’t know more than the broad outlines themselves–they cheat and they siphon money, but for how long, with whom, and how much is frankly beyond them to tally.

        If you are digging for the dirt on one Schmoopie, maybe some kind of truth is possible to exhume, but for a lot of these people, the level of deception and dysfunction in their lives makes sorting the truth from the lies impossible. They cannot tell you themselves which lie is a cover for which other lie. They haven’t built a nested series of Russian dolls; they’ve built a latrine, and it is all just shit down there.

        • Really good information here Eilonwy. I would definitely agree that he is not as cunning and calculated as some narcs can be. I don’t suspect one schmoopie, I suspect several play friends and this may indeed be why it is so difficult to nail down specifics. Thanks for pointing this out and I love your latrine analogy!

          • Agreed. They are so twisted in their minds that THEY don’t even know the truth. There is no getting it out of them because it isn’t in there.

            I strongly believe my guy believes 100% of his own lies. That’s what makes it so scary. They are capable of anything because they will change the narrative. Terrifying.

      • Towanda, perhaps this has something to do with retreating to our comfort zones? I’m a PhD candidate, and research is my way of life. When I found out, I did research day in day out. Not on reconsiliation, but on NPD, NPD relationships, cheating… In the process I found this site. I needed to have all the academic information behind it all. At the time, I think I was just finding solace in something I know, am good at, and am trained to do. Your reaction here might be similar.

        • This makes a lot of sense to me Sarah. I definitely think that knowledge is my comfort zone, on nearly everything in life. I too have researched the hell out of NPD, NPD relationships, empaths, cheating etc etc. I obsesses over the information gathering phase and this is where I am with this guy. Great observation, thanks for sharing it helps to detach and observe my own behaviour from a new perspective.

    • Me too! I just don’t know and I will probably never know. I am not the marriage detective. The fact my H needs a detective to monitor his failthfulness is good enough for me. What he admitted to is good enough for me. I know he lied about meeting OW and admitted to meeting up with her after work to “shop” with her twice behind my back after I was clear he needed to stay away from her. The second time (dd2) was on their day off which was also my day off. He could have spent the time with me but choose to meet her. Does matter if they were shopping or meeting to be alone? I want to know but have to except he broke my trust either way. People don’t hide relationships and meetings unless there is a reason. I would have been fine with him “shopping” with anyone but her. This was after finding flirtatious text messaging 5 years ago leading to a 6 month separation. (DD1) and him telling me how wonderful she was. Why can’t I understand she is so caring? Worst case senerio is that they went underground for the last 6 years so my H could stay living with his kid and get cake to show his friends and family. Or he stayed because I made money to make his life more comfortable. That makes him ugly on the inside to use me for money when I thought we were in a marriage. He has started telling me thank you all the time and it makes me want to throw something. That is how he treats people less close to him. Don’t think he ever said thank you until this last year. Makes me suspicious he has been involved with her over the last year because last time we had sex (a year ago) he awkwardly said “uh, thank you?” Weird! Every little memory makes me suspicious.

      Now that we have been NC for 3 months I can see all the other big problems like laziness. I assumed he was taking care of the house in some way. Nope. Even the furnace filter was full of dirt, bushes over grown, all the sprinklers needed replacing. Guess he was just laying around waiting to nag me to do the dishes while he made plans with OW. He is such LOSER!

    • I was the same. I was obsessed. I asked the most ridiclous questions. My brain couldn’t let it go.

      NC helps. So does therapy. So does being mighty. So does getting a life.

      Good luck. Take it one day at a time.

  • I believed that like on TV (DAMN YOU TV! ) patience and love and understanding could help him overcome his FOO issues.

    The reality : He was already too messed up by the time I appeared. There was no undoing that damage. Worst yet it was destined to rub off on my and the children!

    I believed that he meant what he said.

    The reality : He just said whatever he needed to to get what he wanted.

    I thought he was depressed and stressed about work and our home.

    The reality : he was depressed and stressed alright… Because he had not ‘control ‘.

    I thought he was a decent man having a crisis

    The reality : he is Satan’s minion. (the holy books don’t lie regarding discerning these frauds. Our society takes the precepts of forbearance and tolerance out of context )

    • So tired of hearing how stressful ex found his job. It was always his excuse. One more blessing of NC. I was stressed at work too but came home and tired to make him feel better for 16 years.

  • What I thought it was: an affair that occurred because we had both failed at fulfilling each other in our marriage.

    What it was: I was married to a borderline who had this planned since before the day we met.
    Oh and the cheating and abuse-sooo much worse than I could have believed possible before.

  • So the tip of my iceberg emerged on D-Day with the revelation my pushing 70 H had a 6 year old . My response: it must have been a one night stand where alcohol was involved . When I looked below the surface there was a polar ice cap of an emotional affair of 10 plus years which explained why I had to use a credit card to pay the electric bill. Silly gramma , you were chumped and discovered CN one sleepless night and realized that you were in good company and maybe someday you will be able to swim far enough away from that ice burg and be mighty again.

    • Chumpsrushin, I had forgotten the terrible details of your story. That’s one hell of an iceberg.

  • What I thought it was:
    depression due to a mid life crisis caused by failure to achieve in his career, problems with our college age son, erectile dysfunction. We were in a period of deciding whether we could stay married. He kept saying “things need to change” but would never say what needed to change, other than making it clear that what needed to change was unspecified behavior on my part.

    What it was:
    a years long, ongoing, inappropriate relationship with an ex student, with creepy sexual overtones (he was helping her with her “daddy issues”; she started a FaceBook page “fan club” for him, asked him to get an online minister’s certificate so he could marry her to her then boyfriend she later broke it off with–and he did this); two and a half years of fishing my discarded underclothes out of the trash and wearing them around when I wasn’t home, she-male porn, reading lesbian romance novels, and masturbating, all while discussing his “gender issues” with the ex-student and traveling to her town to go to presentations and performances with her. She convinced him he was transgender and pushed him to “transition.” And I was completely in the dark about all of it.

    So while I was running around wondering what I needed to do to re-set our marriage, he was exploring his “alternative sexuality” with another woman. For two and a half years! And then he came to me to drop this trans bomb and said he was telling me because “I owed it to you.” What he OWED me was not to be acting behind my back, keeping me in the dark, while discussing matters that intimately affected my marriage with this ex-student.

    Who knows what I still don’t know.

  • After using Find-my-iPhone to track him to a hotel, he told me, and I believed, that this was the first time he cheated on me. (I will admit, I was in shock the first few days so, it makes sense that I bought that.)

    What I learned after a little hack here and a little keylogger there, is that this thing had been going on between them for at least a year. And that even though this fucker played dutiful, loving husband our entire marriage, she was at least the 5th or 6th whore involved with him, some overlapping with the next, like this last one he left me for.

    I wonder how she’d feel knowing that? I imagine she’ll be as shocked as I was. ????

    • “[A] little hack here and a little keylogger there.” Believe what you will right out of the D-Day gate, but then verify. 🙂

    • Rumblekitty, would you mind posting in the forum about “a little hack here and a little keylogger there”? I looked up keyloggers the other night but need some more direction. How can I find anything if we do not have a computer, only phones and tablets? Both are locked with a code.
      I could try to guess his email password but gmail always sends a warning email when someone accesses your account from a new device. So he would know.
      I have no proof of his cheating. I probably don’t even technically belong on this site because of that. But I keep coming back because so many bells go off in my head.
      So I guess I am looking for tech support and validation.

      • If you can get his phone and log on to a computer at the same time, then you can access his email and delete the message off his phone before he sees it. If you don’t know his password, then reset it and get the verification code from his phone. If you have his email and his password, then google “my activity”. Log in. You can see all of his google searches, including map quest. Once you do this, then forward everything you can to your own mailbox. Cover your tracks. If he cannot login – most likely he won’t realize why, but will reset his password on his own. Meanwhile – you get your evidence together and go get a lawyer.

      • Mine gave me his passwords – but only after I demanded them.

        He then proceded to whine about how he felt he was “being persecuted” and treated “like a child.” Um… which wasn’t in line with him saying he couldnt live without me. If you can’t live without me, then give me your passwords so I know you’re no longer lying. Easy.

      • I have a different take ont his Differently Chumped. Do you HAVE to know you’re being cheated on? Take how you’re feeling right now. Can you live this way the rest of your life?

        I had so many red flags that I ignored. I also knew my ex was high maintenance and chronically miserable. It took confirmation of a second schmoopie for me to cut my losses and divorce. I didn’t want it to affect my kids, but now I see our lives are really so much better without him in it.

        And you do deserve to be here. You deserve a happy life without a cheater. Screwing around is just one aspect of someone with bad character. Have you though about a PI if you must know?

        • Thank you for the replies, everyone. Sm thinking it may be best if I don’t try to poke the giant anthill with a stick.

          Through discussion here and the forum, I realized I needed proof of cheating in order to feel justified in leaving.

          But isn’t the abuse enough reason? My goodness, what is wtong with me?

  • What a great idea!

    What I thought it was: An emotional affair between my wife and her single co-worker. They expressed physical attraction but never did anything. I left her anyway because she refused to stop. Afterwards, my wife stopped talking to her OM and he got back together with his girlfriend and mother of his child, and he proposed! They got married and lived happily ever after. My ex wife went to therapy to deal with her “sudden” selfishness and change in personality and learned from her mistakes. She cared about me, but she was confused and made mistakes.

    What it actually was: A full-blown emotional and sexual affair between my wife and her engaged coworker. After I left her, she and him continued to see one another, right up and through his wedding and into his marriage. My wife didn’t have a “sudden” character change that she addressed. Instead, she used therapy and select e reasoning to justify all of her actions. She had no compunction about destroying two marriages in less than 1 year. She was always capable of this; I just ignored red flags. She didn’t care about me; her confusion was a ruse to avoid responsibility for her actions; a mistakes is an accident, but there’s nothing accidental about cheating and lying for several months…and then doing it again to someone else’s engagement/marriage for another several months.

    • “her confusion was a ruse to avoid responsibility for her actions”

      This is where so many of us get tripped up….he so deeply hope for a good outcome that this seems a reasonable excuse when in reality we are being played …BIG.

      I think nowdeadcheater was terrified that the whole “long term cheater” jig was up and he was about to be outed as a serious asshole and the stress of it contributed to his insanity. One day he laid on the floor and rolled around inconsolable…of course I was SO worried about him and tried to be helpful and solicitous of his “needs”.

      Lucky for him I was the least suspicious human alive, I was so convinced he would “never” do such a thing, I didnt see the writing on the wall.

      • “the stress of it contributed to his insanity. One day he laid on the floor and rolled around inconsolable…of course I was SO worried about him and tried to be helpful and solicitous of his “needs”.” SAME exact thing happened. I even put him in a bathtub to calm him down. I thought he was remorseful for his cheating, I thought he was feeling empathy. I stayed up all night with him to make sure he was OK. He never cared about my pain, not once. A year later, he’s fighting the divorce and the monster is fully exposed.

        • Wow, same thing happened to me he was sobbing and inconsolable. I took care of him, made sure he was laying down and covered, made him some food and practically fed it to him! Not once did he ever reciprocate when I was a sobbing mess.

          • Yup, nothing in return. Actually, what I got was, “I’m leaving because your constant crying is agitating me”. That’s the extent of it, oh, and “I’m no longer your source of comfort. You will have to make your own life decisions” So I did. I filed for divorce the following week. Which he’s stalling and causing great harm. STILL.

          • Same!!!!

            He watched me with cold eyes as I collapsed on the floor. He didn’t help me up, get me tissues or water. Nothing. He just sat above me at the table, watching me. Inconvenienced probably.

            • same here, cold as ice over my own distress and lack of empathy and ability to support ( not news). Prefer to watch me passively in situations that need support rather than to risk his own self well being. Had a couple of incidents where once a taxi driver was scolding me and he stood watching.

  • What I thought it was-
    A harmless online Facebook “friendship” forged in a closed group where both parties could be trusted because they had character and integrity.

    What it was-
    An emotional affair that quickly turned into a physical affair where the parties didn’t give a rats ass about either clueless spouse, or any of the kids involved. Also, there was much terrible music from stunningly untalented middle aged people who fancied themselves mythical rock stars.
    What they didn’t count on was the seratonin levels from the illicit love affair coming way down when they had to stop learning chords and fucking with auto tune and start sharing a bathroom and paying the electric bill.

    • Ahhh, I love it when “twu wuv” gets smacked in the face with reality. They just never see it coming. Bring me some popcorn!

      • I’m sure the OW in my case could write her own-
        What I thought it was: a musically magical spiritual love partnership with excitement and all my needs met.

        What it really was: a new guy who broods about the loss of his wife and kids that he supposedly couldn’t stand- sits on my couch, farts and can’t pay bills..

      • I have my bowl of popcorn ???? ready. Baby from their tru wuv due soon, bills are due and they gotta get up and go to work. Reality TV ????.

    • And the fun part of sneaking around and deceiving people and feeling “special” wears off.

  • He lied from day I laid eyes on him..moved me into his live in girlfriend’s home when I finished school..I was always suspicious, gut told me something was not right but he gaslighted, deflected, etc..after 22 faithful years I finally get solid proof he could not deny..about a hot tub 3 way with my ex best friend and her then find out her also screwed my sister another close friend my home…while I was my basement during holiday parties..a drunk he worked with and took to concerts with us that he really wanted me to befriend for some reason..and the list goes on..sick bastard getting ready to be a broke bitch now!

  • What I Thought it was: A porn addiction gone awry. The jumping off point was a temptress (stripper) whom he was “powerless” to resist – she seduced him with sex. But now, now that I was crumpled on the floor in a devastated heap, he’d get serious about working on that porn addiction. No more hook-up sites (to satisfy his “curiosity” of what real people – not porn actresses) do ????????‍♀️. I owed it to our kids to make it work. The RIC said “our marriage can be stronger from this” ????

    What it was: A continuing barrage of sex workers, escorts and strip clubs (there were rumors of workplace affairs as well). It was a very skilled and successful misogynistic salesman; brilliant at impression management, playing the part of the Christian family man. It was a double life, one he road out on is false reputation. A very skilled manipulator whom exceptionally plays the part of the victim, embodying the idea that “it’s the response that is the problem, not the behavior!” It was a lie of a life, one he maintained through a history of gaslighting while feigning Christian morals. Twisting my gut instincts into the all encompassing “you’re crazy, paranoid, overreacting, defective, immature, close minded, selfish, poor excuse for a Christian woman! Get a hobby, stop worrying about what I’m doing, you’re controlling, and need mental help!”
    It was a lifetime of emotional abuse that had me convinced “I” was the problem.

    • “Crumpled on the floor in a devastated heap”

      Was it 3AM, and in the middle of your living room floor, in the dark, with your innocent children sleeping in their little beds, and your untroubled “spouse” sleeping away in theirs, and was it one of countless times when the racing terror of the unreality, the dissolving past, the nausea, the hunted animal confusion, and the pushed from a skyscraper emotional explosion overcame you…that you dropped to the floor?

      I guess you could say that sentence fragment brought back some memories we have in common.

      I also received all of the same emotionally abusive claims/tactics you list, either from her or her “Catholic” family. DARVO.

      Be well.

      • Very poignant.

        Also a huge red flag – when they sleep soundly after D-Day and you can’t sleep at all.

    • Wow! Your story could be mine! It’s soooo scary that these monsters walk amongst us with no thought or empathy for the pain they cause– only self-serving, self-absorbed narcissist could behave this way.

  • What I thought:

    He just made a mistake because they got drunk together. He was going to work hard and build our business with that money(all $400000 of it)

    What it really was:

    The affair with our friend went on for a year. Probably others as well as another AP was why he finally left(hallelujah!)
    The money was just blown gone bye bye. Where? I’ll never really know. I thought he may have hidden it for the new life he was planning during my 4 year pick me dance of epic proportions( new toys galore a large cottage and house in Florida all of which I went crazy trying to pay for since he was only working part time and not at all for the last year).

    On to my new cheater/wackjob free life!!

  • What I thought it was: He was lonely and overwhelmed living in a new city away from our new baby and me. He connected with someone out of loneliness and had an affair that he felt deeply guilty about now that I had moved our toddler and I across the country to live with him as a family. The emotional overwhelm of our recent marriage (after 10 years and a child together), the move, supporting me as a SAHM, and giving up his affair was too much for him to handle and he cracked. If I just loved him through it and showed him his worth, we’d get through it.

    What it really was: He wanted revenge for 10 years of perceived crimes against him (like asking him to take out the trash or talking about marriage). He enjoyed the deception and the sex. He didn’t crack under pressure, he was whining about losing cake (he had had two women in two different cities for a year and a half with no chance of me finding out – how cakey!). He secretly reveled in watching me sell my house and quit my job because it made his planned discard juicier when I was vulnerable and oblivious to what he was up to. He valued my vulnerability not as a source of human connection, but as a leverage point to hurt me. None of it was accidental or heartwrenching to him: it was an abusive stage act with the intent to emotionally maim. He set me up on purpose to ensure maximum pain and suffering.

    In summary, the tip of the iceberg: An affair.

    The submerged iceberg: He’s a sick, abusive freak.

    • “He wanted revenge for 10 years of perceived crimes against him (like asking him to take out the trash or talking about marriage).”

      Wow, same here! I can’t believe the audacity of these fools.

    • Every single new chump should read this. I sold a house once to marry someone. I regret THAT and he wasn’t even a cheater. I had a nicer house, a garage, nicer yard, better neighborhood. But he wouldn’t move. First of many selfish moments to come. No one should ever, ever do sell a home, quit a job and move if a partner has had an affair. Never give up major resources and security to someone who has already betrayed you.

      • This makes me laugh. It is so obvious. At least now. Why didn’t I realize this twenty years ago? I had good friends tell me I was making an error. But I trusted the jackass instead and left the house, the job, and the city.

      • I second the “Dont sell you house or quit your job if they already cheated”.. In this area, I sort of failed but mostly succeeded. Cheater promised the kids he would not make them move then Cheater moved away (subtle brainfuck blaming the kids for us all not living together). He most certainly didnt invite us to go at first then he insisted that we move (missing step: discussing a possible move with us. He wanted to go and didnt want to hear any arguments to the contrary).

        So he pushed REALLY hard for us all to leave the stability we had and love 3000 miles away to suit him when a few months earlier, he was ready to dump us all. No. We didn’t go. He tried everything and eventually figured out that he had overplayed his hand on that point. He rode our asses hard on this point…every damn day…I was ready to go NC with him over it when he finally gave up.

        When he returned home, he did buy a larger house 3 miles from the old one (kids stayed in same school, I kept same job) but it was a financial house of cards. Between the house and cars, he had is in deep debt and then he decided he wanted to start a business. Oddly enough, he made just enough to keep us floating, but it was tenuous.

        He griped on a minute to minute basis about wanting to move. I reminded him on a minute to minute basis that HE CHOSE to buy this big house which was now worth less than we paid for it. That dance of madness went on until he died. Im still in the house and I like it. It fits all my new husbands stuff really nicely. I paid off the house with life insurance money. Newhub owns a house that we rent out. We did not put each others names on our houses, if either of us died, the house belongs to those respective kids.

        If I had moved with him when he harassed me to early in wreckonciliation, it would have been a disaster

      • That sounds obvious and I agree. But we don’t know they’re cheating.

        I moved across the country, quit my job, had found another job, all in order to “be with him.” He said pretty (ultimately shallow) words to egg me along, while he sat back and did nothing.

        Then began discarding me shortly after I had relocated. The discard and affair stages lasted another 3 years.

        Do I wish I had never moved or quit my job? Constantly. But I thought I was doing the best at the time on the information I was given.

        I could never have imagined he was as spiteful and manipulative as he ended up being.

        Moving foward, I am still young. Only 35. I am started again with nothing. But you are right, you should never give up a house or security for another person. I learnt that once already the hard way. Not planning on getting taken to the cleaners again!!

    • Mine wanted revenge too. Apparently I was a tyrant who deserved to be punished.

      • X is relentless in his quest for revenge.
        I too apparently deserved to be punished and humiliated.
        Why? for supporting him and standing by him through thick and thin?
        Sticking by his side through the lean years giving him encouragement
        when he was unemployed?
        For being a devoted wife and Mother?
        Caring for his family?
        Taking care of him and our family for the last 25 years?
        Trusting him and believing his lies?
        It’s chilling to think the person I lived with for 25 years is an imposter,
        I don’t know who he is.

    • “In summary, the tip of the iceberg: An affair.

      The submerged iceberg: He’s a sick, abusive freak.”

      Free fix: This is the concise truth that should be making the mainstream headlines!

    • Mine planned the discard for ten years too. When he left he told me the exact day he’d made the decision. I too had demanded all kinds of crazy things like taking good care of he kids pets and thinking I could ask for help on hard jobs around the house. Oh, and not believing his lies. So I didn’t get any more chances.

  • I thought he was, or had been with another woman, then I considered it may have been another man, or that he had possibly been raped during a physical assault during work hours that took 5 initial weeks off work and a further 4 months reduced duties and wages to recover from.. suspected for about six or so years. Any challenge to get the truth was denied or deflected to the point I almost abandoned my kids to escape the crazy.

    Truth…….he had an affair with a man when our youngest of three was only a year old and during the eight years between affair and D’day had hooked up with multiple others including the one who assault and robed him, robbing our family of necessary income, and costing him yet another job.

    And like all good pretent Christians months after D’day when it finally sunk in that reconciliation was never going to happen, he wiped the slate clean by claiming it wasn’t his fault he had been possessed by an unclean sexual spirit, of which he had been delivered, and has since married another woman.

    Meh, meh, meh, meh, meh!

    • You can’t make this stuff up! These people are sick to the core and society keeps making excuses for them. Heck we kept making excuses for them!

    • Gosh, I’m amazed at how your instincts were already telling you all you needed to know!
      You could sense something sexual with a man had happened, despite how irrational or unlikely the thought may be.

      We really do have a sixth sense, too sad many of us were trained to silence it. I certainly was.
      But it was instincts in the end that dragged me out. That’s my small victory, and one that I cling to when I’m lost for direction these days.

  • What I thought it was: Honestly, I was not at all sure, because I had never encountered anyone like him before, and I hope I never do again. In my confusion and desire to honor marriage and put my family first, I entertained a lot of ideas: it was work stress, it was financial burdens, it was the stress of becoming a parent, it was career ambition, it was difficulty embracing aging, it was the loss of his father, it was childhood issues, it was depression, it was alcoholism, it was a surpassingly rare and slowly developing brain tumor that caused odd and frightening behavioral changes, and whatever it was would pass or could be healed if only I kept doing the right things.

    What it really was: He is a pathological liar incapable of fidelity to anyone or anything but himself. He is a voyeur to the core, and has a need to control women, particularly sexually, but preferably in every respect. Image is everything. Cannot be a parent, but wants to be seen as a great dad. Cannot be a true partner, but wants to be seen as such. Cannot deal in truths, but wants to be regarded as a great and trustworthy guy. Deeply addicted to porn, incapable of functioning without lots of alcohol, a masterful blameshifter and gaslighter, and always operates on the assumption that whatever he cares to do at the moment is a thing he is wholly entitled to do. Incapable of love, but finds it convenient for others to love and admire him. Total social chameleon, becoming whatever he needs to be at the moment to get what he wants. Incapable of sincerity, but good at observing how genuine people behave and parroting that. A narcissist, and–though it has been a long and painful road to grasping this–also a sociopath.

    • I am sure that, like a lot of people, you sent shivers down my spine reading about your ex. Mine is a female version and some of the details are a little different, but man they sound the same.

      • That description resonated all the way through me, too. Every single part…especially about not wanting something but wanting to be seen as such. And the part about observing things in others and parroting it.

        He often even parrots me…telling me things like he is praying for the kids and I (knowing I pray). He stores everything someone says away to pull out later to use for manipulation. It is truly sick now that I am able to recognize it.

        • Yes Cashmere, FSTL and GMF. Perfect descriptions. It is a hard won and unfortunate skill we now possess to be able to see what they are and precisely how they operate.

        • Uh, the parrot thing! How many times did I hear him in over 10 years repeat something to
          a third party that was MY point during an argument, which he had not validated at the time of the argument at all!
          And here I thought each time he was finally agreeing with me!
          It did ring odd, though, I knew that.

          I guess it was because he knew my point was right, but to my face all he could do was contradict me (control). Or it was some other sick manipulation twist that I don’t quite grasp, being a sane person.

      • Wow, This is one of the best description of my XH I have ever heard… Realizing that they are so common and so the same makes me so afraid to ever date again.

    • Cashmere – perhaps we were married to the same man!!! Behaviour exactly the same – what I thought I knew; all that behaviour/my rationalisations; 20+ years of marriage, three kids; one affair which ended when OW emailed me to ‘introduce herself’! What really happened; multiple affairs from when youngest a baby; lying about money and taking so much that when I finally ended it – and bank did fraud search – I got all remaining assets for which I will always be grateful as allowed us to have a life without him. He, of course, disappeared once I froze our accounts and he no longer had access to my money; kids want nothing to do with him. chump lady and this community only thing that got me through – thank you v humbly for creating this Tracy; you saved my sanity when I was st risk of drowning in deceit.

  • What I thought it was: She called him all the time, crying, and he was trying to help her with her problems. He only saw her a few times in three months.

    What I put together after looking at his cell phone records: He called her several times a day and they talked for usually about 45 minutes. He saw her 3 or 4 times a week.

  • What I thought it was Part A:
    Taking out his intern for a celebratory end of semester drink. That he came home at 4 am because he didn’t want to drive home drunk.
    What it really was Part A:
    A barhopping fetish filled night with his intern.

    What I thought it was Part B:
    An inappropriate emotional relationship with one of his graduating HS seniors, he kept telling me she was having a hard time “transitioning” that summer.
    What I thought it was Part B:
    An inappropriate emotional relationship that turned into a 10 month long fetish filled sexual relationship after his recently graduated HS senior turned 18 including a trip to spend spring break with her in her college dorm.

  • What I thought it was:

    Convincing me to buy a house while we were broke because it would be a “good investment.” Spending the unemployment time working on renovating the house to do something good for our family. An STD discovered as a part of prenatal exams that technically *could* have originated sometime back when I was still single and gone undetected for years. Work. Band practice. Going out with “the dudes.” Being unemployed for most of our marriage because of bad luck. Taking the toddler to a street festival to finally, finally spend some time with her that I didn’t have to beg him for. He really *would* stop driving drunk, he promised! Doing literally zero household tasks because he’s “just not good at that stuff.”

    What it really was:

    Convincing me to buy a house while we were broke because he knew that he could manipulate me into being his meal ticket in perpetuity. Spending the unemployment time mostly drinking mass quantities (I mean like several cases in the recycling bin each week) of PBR while working at a snail’s pace on renovating the house to show off, brag to others about his skillz, and present a fake front that he’s an actual useful person. An STD likely gained sometime during my pregnancy (confirmed by OBGYN) from aforementioned howorker, and passed on to me and our unborn child. Trysts with the howorker in the back room at work. Trysts with the howorker in the band practice space. Going out with the howorker. Being unemployed because of laziness, and happy to reap the benefits of my steady job. Going to a street festival to meet up with howorker, with my child in tow. He never has stopped driving drunk to this day, because it would be inconvenient for him. Doing literally zero household tasks because he’s lazy and could lay on the couch while I did all of it, after a full day at work myself.

    Thank the LORD he is out of this house and busy ruining the lives of others now. Pray for my kid though, y’all. She’s forced to spend time with him weekly.

  • D-Day: Woke-up from a deep sleep around midnight. Husband still wasn’t home from his “business dinner.” Bad feeling in stomach. First thought was that he went to strip clubs with business men (14 years before he frequented strip clubs in Canada and got 100% naked lap dances, was probably having a PA with a ho-worker, was cold and emotionally abusive to me and he did all this while I was pregnant with our second child), so it made sense that he could be at strip clubs. Around 1:00am I called his cell phone and he answered. He said he was at the Anchor Bar (birthplace of Buffalo Wings) as the out-of-towners wanted to “check it out.” I called the Anchor Bar and no answer. Went online and they closed at 11:00. He came home and continued to lie to me until he finally fessed up that he was out with a “friend” who just got divorced. Long story short as I’ve rehashed all this already here at Chump Lady. But the women who was just a “friend.” Was “sexless” to him. That he “couldn’t tell whether she was male or female, she’s just a friend” is now his girlfriend and they started dating and sleeping together just as soon as I moved out with the kids (he wouldn’t leave even though he wanted a divorce) and he only recently brought her out of the closet to our children. I knew he’d wait a respectable amount of time to introduce her to everyone, because that’s what narcs do. Everything is about how it looks to him and how people perceive him, so he made sure that it looked like he didn’t do anything wrong and kept her in the closet so it just looked like the just started dating. He hasn’t fooled everyone and he certainly doesn’t fool God who he’ll answer to one day!

    So, reality: He was lying to me from the very beginning of our relationship. He got me to move 650 miles away from my family by telling me I was his “soulmate, love of his life, woman of his dreams, the perfect woman for him.” I fell for it as no one had ever said these things to me before and I now have learned that this is “love bombing” and these are the things that narcs say to you to get you reeled in and trapped, because it’s so gosh darn wonderful to hear that someone feels this way about you!

    After I moved here, he was writing love letters to his “friend” that moved to England for the Army. He had plans to go visit his “friend” with a guy friend after he graduated from college. None of this bothered me at all, because I trusted him and he was going with a guy friend. When he was in England, I was in his bedroom at his parents (long story) and there were letters from her on his desk. I shouldn’t have invaded his privacy, but I did and read them. In the letters she said, “If you come visit me, we can spend the whole night together and have sex.” I was embarrassed that I read the letters, so when he came home I just asked him questions about her and of course he lied just like narcs do and gave a convincing story that she was “just a friend.” I obviously spackled and believed his bs story. So, this started over 20 years of him lying to me and having tons and tons of “friends” behind my back. Like Chump Lady said, I know only the tip of the ice burg, but I know enough to know he sucks. When my brain was hurting and my thoughts were going a million miles a minutes, I was connecting so many dots over the years. All those odd things that happened. Figuring out the truth about something instead of the bs that I fell for. I needed to connect the dots for myself to convince my brain that I was not going crazy like I felt I was during our marriage or even after the discard. He had me convinced all his lying and cheating was all in my head because of my “trust issues.” NO! I had “trust issues”, because I was married to a disordered fuckwit who was gaslighting me for over 20 years! And I one day realized he was the only person in my entire life that made me feel this way!

    As hard as this has been, I’m so happy he’s no longer a part of my life. I really did think we had a pretty happy marriage and a good life. And I truly believe he was happy with his cake (me, the kids and everything I did for him to make him happy at home). But he’s a narc that needs constant female attention and adoration. I had felt that for quite sometime in our marriage, but I thought it was just me being jealous of his work (he worked ALL THE TIME) and his “friends.” I now know he’s disordered and it’s WONDERFUL not living with the mind games anymore! I can be happy again. I can love again, because I’m capable of loving deeply, being faithful and also taking great care of a husband. He’s none of those things, so like Chump Lady has said many time, my stock will trade high. 🙂

    • “He was lying to me from the very beginning of our relationship. He got me to move 650 miles away from my family by telling me I was his “soulmate, love of his life, woman of his dreams, the perfect woman for him.” I fell for it as no one had ever said these things to me before and I now have learned that this is “love bombing” and these are the things that narcs say to you to get you reeled in and trapped, because it’s so gosh darn wonderful to hear that someone feels this way about you!”

      Exactly the same here. I got sucked in so bad by the soulmate talk. When I brought it up post D-Day he said “But i meant it at the time!” Liar. You dont say that unless you actually mean it for life!

      • Yes, the love bombing was what really got me, too. I couldn’t believe the incredible, romantic things he was telling me and I bought it hook, line, and sinker.

  • He lied from day one. But honestly I simply no longer care to know with whom, when , where, how often or whatever. It doesn’t matter. He is a textbook covert narc. Don’t know if this is MEH, but I thoroughly despise him. Deep down I do know he will never ever be happy, it is just not in him. And the woman who is with him now, well good luck for her.

  • What I thought it was:

    My kind compassionate husband of 30 years visiting his best friend’s widow in the weeks after the funeral to offer support.

    What it actually was:

    An opportunity for them to pursue their relationship, him to hide money and plot his escape leaving me and the kids blindsided in the dust.

  • What I Thought:
    Cheaterpants was just surfing Craig’s List to get naked pictures and flirty emails, free porn. (Wtf was I thinking?) The emails with men soliciting hook ups was just him exploring, he wasn’t bi!!!!
    All his distance was just stress over the new baby, and his enlistment. His utter lack of regard for me or our kid was him just adjusting to me being a stay at home mom and him being the bread winner.
    What it was:
    Serious addiction to porn and risky behavior going back to teen years. Bi sexual behavior going back to molestation that happened when he was 12 that he only disclosed to me after I confronted him about all the dick pics. Craig’s List was where he met, and hooked up with numerous strangers for 10+ years.
    His lack of regard for me or the baby was because he has new wifey #3 already picked out and ready to go.
    What I Did:

  • What I thought it was:

    Hidden FB use where he “liked” way too many ladies’ duck face selfies.

    What it actually was:

    Hidden FB use for years, hidden statuses, hidden chats with co-workers, pursuing one co-worker to the point of going out with her (platonically, confirmed by her). He claims it was “on a bet with the guys”

    This was preceeded by at least one other inappropriate relationship years prior, with a different co-worker, spanning at least through a year.

    • Jessica, I am sad to say this: Your “after” revelation should still be under “what I thought it was.” I bet that iceberg is much bigger and darker than you have uncovered.

  • What I thought it was: a D-day about a 6-week affair with gradwhore that had ended 8 years ago (found his notes to help deal with the sexual harassment officer, as there is no statute of limitations).

    What it really was: At least 3 solid affairs (including one that was ongoing at the time of D-day, with an AP he nonetheless took to China with him 3 days after D-day, knowing his marriage was in trouble), Ashley Madison & Adult Friend Finder accounts, probably cheating since month 3 of the marriage when I was pregnant.

    They suck. Scratch the surface and lots of ugly pours out.

  • What I thought:
    She was so character driven and good that I felt like I was the world-wise one. The one who had to show her how the world works. (Chump!) She could shut down an argument with “are you saying I’m lying?!” because if it got to that I just knew she never would. We had dated for several years before marriage and I had been cheated on before by someone else, so I looked very closely at this one. I believed in her character so thoroughly that it actually helped me eventually. I actually did catch her in a lie but instead of revealing the evidence I simply challenged her on it. I watched as she stunningly and comfortably managed every nuance in word and expression like a lifelong pro. So incredibly quick in crafting storylines. Then I hit her with the evidence. Her response: the infamous dead-eye stare. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There began my long introduction into the facade of NPD and Sociopathy. Many shoes were to drop after that.

    What it really was:
    Serial cheater since our first days of dating (and within every prior “relationship”). Compulsive liar. Bulimic. Alcoholic. Suicidal (first attempt in teenage years). Promiscuity in worst 10% according to the CDC. Professionally diagnosed with co-morbid Borderline, NPD and “features” of ASPD (sociopath).

    I know. I sound like a complete moron to not see this. There were some flags but that was all. She is a lifelong actress from a family who has managed to hide most of its generational dysfunction. It’s just how they live. We’re talking a Bill Cosby kind of image-reality disconnect. And I had no idea this kind of shit could exist much less be hidden to this extent. They were always thought of as one of those little-bit-weird families so I stupidly baked that in and started “looking” from there. No one outside the Cluster B world has any idea what’s inside that world or how cunning and deceptive it is. I didn’t.

    • Yes. No one truly understands how incredibly messed up and bad it is inside their minds…until you realize you are the one that has been deceived by it.

    • “She is a lifelong actress from a family who has managed to hide most of its generational dysfunction. It’s just how they live. We’re talking a Bill Cosby kind of image-reality disconnect. And I had no idea this kind of shit could exist much less be hidden to this extent.”

      Exactly! I remember thinking after the discard of me — he truly could win an Academy Award for his performance(s)! Lots of his family members too. So much is all an act to look like “perfect” Christian people, but it’s just that. A big act!

      From now on. Actions. Not words.

      I saw all their actions over the years and even heard all their not so nice words in how they talked about each other behind their backs. But then I saw the big smoochy, smoochy, ‘I love you’ bs and believed that was the truth. It wasn’t.

      I truly thought my ex was a good and decent man, but……I failed in a big way to believe his actions over the years. I saw and heard stuff over and over again, but kept believing his words. Like you said. You just don’t know these types of people exist! We all lie on occassion and we try not to or at least I try not to! But I am not a lie. Who I am is not a lie. They are the “People of the Lie” like the Scott Peck book describes. Funny, but I read that book about ten years before I figure out my ex was a covert narc/sociopath. I had no clue what kind of monster I was living and sharing a bed with. Just the thought makes my skin crawl. 🙁

      • Yes! I read People of the Lie about a year ago when I came across the title. I thought no way will it be what the title suggests but I got it anyway. The first 150 pages just got better and better until I could just about underline everything. Highly recommend. And I read your post above. You are right… your X will answer to God.

  • What I thought it was:
    I thought it was the beginning of an Emotional Affair – I thought that boundaries had been crossed and that he was “STARTING” to have feelings for OW. That it had never come physical (as I was told). For one whole year, I believed this, and that we could get past this.

    What it really was:
    A full physical affair with a Coworker – 20 yrs younger (who also befriended me) – for 3 to 4 years, Sex at work, vacation days off together, with someone that came to my house and ate at my dinner table with my kids, and sometimes with her husband too, practically every week.

    • That isn’t just an affair. That is two individuals who got a sick thrill from pulling things over on you. That is sociopathic on both of their parts.

      • Thank You for saying that GetMeFree. Once I found out – the hardest thing was forgiving myself for not seeing it, I questioned my judgement, my trust, was I really that stupid that I didn’t see it right in front of my eyes? NO, I was supposed to Trust. I would ask friends after – did you guys notice anything? And everyone said NO, they hid it well in front of everyone.

        She eventually went back to her husband, had a kid, and cheated on her husband again with my EX, and they are now a couple, after 3 years separated (or were they) and him still mindfucking me every chance he had. I hope they stay together for a long time. They so deserve each other.

    • Yes this was me, I thought he was unaware of how inappropriate their relationship had become. What it was is that he and she loved the scam life. I babysat her kids, had her over to dinner, helped her when she was ill. Turns out they both get off on deception.

    • They are truly sick and disordered, MightyAgain. People this disordered are very good at hiding their deception. They are master manipulators and actors, so you shouldn’t beat yourself up one bit for not seeing it! Don’t forget that these types can fool therapists, etc.

  • What I thought was…
    He was having a hard time dealing with our unexpected, late-in-life pregnancy. I thought he needed time to adjust to the changes coming. I thought he was drinking too much. I thought he was battling depression. I thought if I continued loving him and making our home or family time as enjoyable as possible, he would realize that he was actually blessed.

    What it was…
    He was screwing around with the 23-year old girl who worked for him and had been since before I even got pregnant. He continued to lie to me and lead me to believe he was struggling with unhappiness. He lied about where he was, who he was with, and where he was staying. He kept me tied up in knots without knowing the truth my entire last trimester of my pregnancy and for the first month after she was born. And this 23 year old was just the most recent OW. I will never know how many others there were but I now know there were at least 3 others before her going back over 15 years.

  • Looking back is horrifying.
    What I thought was a so called midlife crisis, was serial cheating.
    We both went into therapy 5 years ago and he is still a manboy. They do not change.
    I thought we could work through this-the emphasis is on the we, except it was just me.
    Although I can be a tough attorney, I was such a chump for him. Bought into all the excuses.
    I am finally proceeding with the divorce. Praise be to G_d!

    BTW, all his brothers are cheaters!

  • What HE SAID it was (which skewed my thinking toward still believing in his mantra which he had recited to me for twenty-five years in which he was always admonishing cheaters/adultery): Gym time for “health”, new clothing due to “weight loss” (although his fashion choices completely morphed from age appropriate attire into skinny jeans, etc. mirroring his twenty-something posse’s style), and manscaping for “hygiene” (in spite of the fact he had no qualms about being Sasquatch-esque before).

    What it really was: Cheating with a decades younger ho-worker who herself is boasting about being chosen as my replacement from “one of many” notches in my husband’s belt which is said to have included prostitutes (Far cry from the “one time drunken mistake” which is all he has admitted which took hours of interrogation and evidence gathering/producing on my part to even get to the “truth”!)

    My STBXH is a master manipulator who exudes charm. He had me and everyone in our lives believing he was a doting husband who adored me. Our family members and friends thought his recent changes in appearance (which included hairplugs) were to look “hot” for me. (I summed it all up as midlife crisis symptoms triggered by his entering his forties somewhat enhanced by his incessant reading of GQ, Men’s Health, etc.) The reality is, he was preening for an “upgrade” and it really pisses me off that my own mother had bought him those magazine subscriptions as gifts for his birthday and they contain sex tips which he was using on OW!

    Like CL said, “And fact is, many years out, you realize ‘the whole truth’ is unknowable with a cheater. There are skeletons you will never unearth. Meh is walking away from the shovel.”

    Accepting that so much will forever remain unknown is daily struggle (which at times leaves me feeling virtually incapacitated and/or evokes a bizarre insatiable urgency to flee far, far away although I’m sure there is no place to really escape these thoughts). I rely on CN to keep me hopeful that one day my meh will come however tempting other uses for a shovel would be (JK LOL).

    • I am divorced from a cheater who has never admitted to the affair. I have had to piece the story together from the evidence and a few cryptic nuggest spouted by the cheater. This is probably one of the hardest things about this if not the hardest, to accept that I will never know the truth about XH’s affair. I have accepted that he will never tell me, and I have asked him to tell me ALL of the details, from A to Z many, many times. I felt that I had a right to know because I was his wife at the time and he used marital assets to conduct the affair. I also felt it was the worst thing in the world that we could not reconcile on the infidelity evidence. The way that I have reconciled this in my own mind is to acknowledge that my reality was distorted by him so that I would believe that he was all mine and that we had a monogamous marriage, because this is what he needed to do to exploit me. But in his mind, he never was mine. And because he wasn’t mine, he was entitled to the affair with the other woman. In his mind, there was no genuine reciprocal relationship between us, therefore I did not need to know about his affair with the other woman. The role he assigned me was to pay for it and be duped about it, but to not actually know anything about it. He was hoping to continue the affair, and the way he sought to achieve that was to distort my reality with gaslighting so that I would trust him over my intuition.

      • Chumptacular,

        At 3 years out of the hell, ex accused me of this. We have a child together and very, very low contact. He was trying to het back in, it wasn’t working, so he accused ME of never believing he was all mine…Fragile Rock was never commited…Fragile Rock was distorting his reality. Yes, ex actually told me these things and accused me. Amazing when you really start listening to the bs. This IS what goes on in their minds.

      • This is the reasoning that makes it ok for them .ex fucktard had decided in his head that the marriage was over decided to frame it to others in our life he was enduring a dead marriage but at home happily continued to play happy families with me and the kids. So the classic double life . The only clue i had was that he slept badly towards the point of him leaving us. Maybe there was a speck of a conscience pricking him while he was asleep. But while inventing an alternate reality he had the foresight to strip our joint assets to zero by the day he walked . These bastards always involve money as part of the deception. Even stole from his own kids savings . So many lines crossed it is beyond belief. It has taken me nearly 2 years to absorb all the sordid details.

    • “Men’s Health” Magazine…. You too can be the coolest 40 something on the block…get a Tag Heuer watch, wear North Face clothes and take mountain climbing trips to Yemen where you will give food scraps to orphans cause you are a great guy. Be in a band and shag hot chicks who have no interest in marriage, they just want to see your “O face”. In Mens Health world, there are no puking children, aging parents or toilets to clean…you stay 42 forever and everyone thinks you are fabulous.

  • What I thought it was; a marriage to an honourable man, who loved me and cherished our family.

    What it was: a big con!

    • Me too. I’ve used the “con” word so many times. When I still lived with the cheater, I took our beautiful wedding photo that had been sitting in a frame for 20 years in our living room — I took it and ripped it in half and said, “This is what I think of our sham of a marriage.” It was a big sham. A big con. Love fraud. I hope some day there will be laws in the books that future chumps can use to bring this liars down!

      • Martha – I hope you gave him his 1/2 of the ripped photo. He probably framed it because it only had him in it in a tux. Loser. My freak didn’t want one photo of our lives for 35 yrs. Who are these people?

  • What I thought it was:

    After an abusive childhood she struggled holding down a job and her blowing money on crazy things was a reaction from her childhood trauma that she was working on in therapy. She decided to move herself and the kids 500 miles away near her Mom “temporarily” while I sold the house and worked because it would be better “for the children”. We’d see each other on weekends and she and the kids would move back at the end of the school year. Also, she lost 100 pounds and joined a gym to feel good about herself. The boob job and tummy tuck was needed so she could feel “good about her body” after having 3 kids. She had been married to me for 15 years, loved me and was a “devout Christian”.

    What it really was:

    I married her young and against the advice of my friends and family indeed my parents begged me not to marry her. But I was young, “in love” and she was physically gorgeous.
    I thought after 15 years and 3 kids plus going through marriage counseling that things were fine. I foolishly thought that she would never cheat especially with her religious beliefs.
    Boy was I a super CHUMP. I know now that she is a narcisstic sociopath who is incapable of loving anyone but herself. I discovered that sociopaths usually have a public persona that is very important to them. Her public persona was a sweet church going soccer mom who had a great house, car, kids and husband. In reality I was just a meal ticket and she was a major cake eater.
    I found out after D Day that she had cheated on me early in our relationship and marriage on business trips and then her plan at the end was to move to where she wanted to be, get back in shape, set me up financially and then leave me, keep the 3 kids for paychecks and live great off of the proceeds of the divorce and alimony and child support.
    The only reason I found out was that her cousin who I had known since she was young told me the truth. When I confronted the Ex, she denied nothing but was furious that one of her friends or family betrayed HER (I never told her who told me). I then went through ugly divorce and she was having sex with 3 guys including the 19 year old son of her supposed best friend. Work got out about her activities and she was kicked out of her church and 2 of the 3 guys dumped her. She ended up marrying new Chump who was 1 of the 3 and he has a good job but looks like he crawled out from under a rock so is so happy to have a “hotty”. Since then I have heard that she is cake eating with him but is more careful in her cheating. With me, the mask is off and she makes life as difficult as possible for me and the kids.
    Happy ending though is that 5 years after D Day I met a great woman who also had a sociopath ex and we married and are very happy. My advice is never ever ignore red flags and if your friends and family all dislike someone you are going with — RUN !!

  • D-day, what I thought it was: He was acting weird.
    What it was: He was having an affair and pretending that everything was normal with us.

    What I thought it was, after I exposed his affair and confronted him: He was in love with someone else.
    What it was: He didn’t love OW; he didn’t love me, he’s a fucked up narcissist who can’t love anyone but himself and he doesn’t even do that well. He only said he “loved” her to manipulate me.

    What I thought it was: He had one affair. I should break up with him amicably.
    What it was (I found out 8 mos. after kicking him out): He’d had a previous affair five years earlier. He never stopped fucking his previous girlfriend to me, in fact, kept doing that for first 7 years he live with me. There was no time that he wasn’t cheating for the whole 16 years.

    Pre-D-day, what I thought it was: “He has anger management issues.”
    Post D-day and post reading Lundy Bancroft, “Why Does he Do That?” = all that shit was verbal, emotional and psychological abuse.

    The whole 16 year relationship, what I thought it was: I finally found my soulmate, and now had an intact family after my previous 10-year marriage with a narcissist ended (including a full trial for custody, $10,000 in legal fees and two years of receiving no child support). He mirrored all my likes and dislikes, he was handy fixing things around the house and professed to want to “be a family” with me and my kids.

    WHAT IT REALLY WAS: I was deceived, manipulated and abused by a ten-times worse narcissistic sociopath who was cheating on me from Day One; I financially supported him for 16 years during which he did everything he could to destroy my self-worth, and gaslight me into believing he was a delicate flower who I wasn’t taking care of well enough even though I never said no to anything he wanted, and paid for all our housing, food, and cell phones, cooked dinner every night, participated in all his kinky sex demands, and worst of all believed in his self-professed moral superiority to me and everyone else around him. Upon exposing him, was subjected to his all out smear campaign vs me, destroyed several friendships (switzer friends I guess), paid another $30,000 to legal extricate from one share asset w/him, discovered even more affairs that were hidden from me, and generally realized I was a World Class Chump.

    Yet I am so glad this parasite is out of my and my children’s lives.

  • What I thought it was? A consultant, who was working with our organization, had a serious case of hero worship and infatuation with my husband. We all laughed about it because she was so obvious and made such a fool of herself. But my husband recognized that, right? While egotistical, he would never endanger what we had worked so hard to create, and he certainly would never betray his wife and family. Not my husband. He was just too good of a man for that kind of behavior.

    What it really was, I will never know. Yes, I am sure it was a years long affair, with a mentally unstable woman who, even after our divorce, continued to stalk and harass me AND my children. As I have posted here before, the stalking came after the affair was publicly outed in the press. OW had convinced herself that if I was publicly humiliated about the affair, our marriage would implode. (It did, but not the way she had envisioned). We were allegedly “prominent” people and enquiring minds wanted to know.

    I now believe X was probably never faithful to me. There are just too many unanswered questions. I do know that he lied to me on a daily and ongoing basis, doing thing like deliberately picking fights so he could storm out and “be alone.” I also know that he was very, very good at deception, the depths of which will always be beyond my comprehension.

    But you know what? I no longer care, and that speaks volumes about how far I have come. X will have to take his deception up with his Maker, because as Kesha sings, “There are some things only God can forgive.” The fact that I don’t give a damn about what he did means I am firmly at meh. I have come out the other side and it is glorious!

    So what I knew, and what it actually was, just don’t matter anymore. I am free of the insanity, free of the doubt, and free to live in a manner consistent with my values. What was the worst experience of my life has set me free.

    • My ex couldn’t pass up the crazies either. I wonder if they underestimate just how crazy they are and think they can control them into behaving all the while screwing them and extracting those kibbles.

      And just when I think I see the road ahead to ‘meh’, I find I still am trying to untangle. Putting mine in the ‘normal’ but a little messed up category and putting the OW in the ‘crazy’ but really nuts category.

  • I thought he was out cheating, but never confronted him, ever. I would be “pissy” that he had been out all night, overdraft our account hundreds a night, come home broke, had vague recounts of his night before, even offering me to call whichever friend (that I had never been introduced to, never brought over to our home, etc.) He claimed he was with for me to verify. I never did.

    I thought he was just a victim of bad luck- he “lost” his wallet one night when he had to work late shift near a casino. Coincidentally, he happen to “find” his wallet- with all of his cards, ID, etc. still intact – the day before his next payday…

    I thought he was just a misunderstood employee— all the jobs he quit, or was fired from was just him being victimized and mistreated.

    I thought he was scouting out women because he was “friends” with Zoosk, and POF in his Facebook page, and he never gave me a straight answer.

    One thing about exh#2, he never “likes” or “follows” anything or anyone on his Facebook page without having direct relation or contact with. That’s how I found out about A. P./O.W.s. he would “friend” them on his Facebook page, but either kept me blocked from his posts, or even worse, he wouldn’t even “friend” me for a while on Facebook the last few months before DDay. I made an anonymous Facebook page that I used to scout out those early post-DDays, pre- divorce.

    So in the end what I realized all that I thought was wrong.

    I thought I had a good man that would never lie to me or cheat on me. What I actually got was a liar beyond liars — he would swear in his beloved great-grandmother’s grave, his daughter’s life, “a stack of Bible’s” (thought being a former warlock, seemed rather strange to use the Bible) that he was telling the truth.

    I thought he was faithful and loyal to me. What I got what was a man that would rather get off to porn rather than be with me. A man that was getting it from God knows how many other women over the 13 years. The only sound proof I have is from one A.P. that came forward after he dumped her and had already left me. Unfortunately, they were former high school sweethearts, and had only reconnected online and the phone, they did enough over the phone and online, but never met in person. After talking with her, and talking to another OW that knows a good friend of mine I don’t need further proof of actual proof.

    I saw enough on FB. I heard from many people.of the lies he had posted, told people, said about me as wife, a mother, a woman.

    I thought I had forever and true.

    What I got was never and false.

  • I’m only 8 months out from D-day and not yet divorced. During my marraige I thought my STBX was bad at communication, I thought the profession he was in was a breeding ground for alcoholics and they did not prioritize family. I thought he was not good in a crisis. I thought he had a hard time with emotions.

    After D-day I realized that he purposely kept his work life and his home life VERY separate. He lied to me about spouses not being allowed at certain events. HE specicifally did not prioritize family over himself. Most likely, every woman that I suspected of having an inappropriate relationship with him, did. He is bad at communcation, because it’s easier to not communicate than to keep track of lies you have told. When he told me he left because I did not believe in him anymore, it really meant I started questioning his lies. And he is not just bad in a crisis, he is completely terrible!

    Before D-day, I thought most of the problems in the relationship were because of me and that is why I stayed. If I could just fix my issues, everything would be okay. Now I realize that most of “my issues” were projections. My efforts to better myself were being sabatoged. His true character was revealved when he abandoned me during cancer.

    Even thought I know all these things, I still occasionally find myself questioning my contribution to the demise of my marriage. And then I remind myself or discover new truths by accident. The biggest reveal of all was talking to my daughter’s therapist last night. My daughter told her therapist that her dad doesn’t listen to her, only does things he wants to do, doesn’t ask her questions about her… For a moment I felt validated. I’m not the only one who has these issues with him. And then my heart broke. This is only the beginning for her. As she gets older, she is going to understand the truth about what happened and she is going to continue to be disappointed by her dad.

    I know I only have the tip of the iceberg. I thought I wanted to know what was underneath. I don’t anymore. I’m not even trying anymore and chunks keep floating to the surface. While revealing, they are also quite painful and suck me into questioning myself. I know he sucks. I do not need to know anymore than that.

    • I got: “Im on the phone all day at work so I have no energy to talk when i get home” what it really meant: “that its a great excuse to give her the silent treatment while freezing her out and technically not lying about what ive really been up to” . When i did catch him lying he would deny it even when the evidence was all over his face (body glitter from a stripper)

  • What I thought.

    He was abroad earning for the boys education and doing well in a place where he felt effective and respected. We talked and FaceTimed multiple times a day.
    Dday he was forced to admit an emotional affair with a Chinese woman who he couldn’t dump as she was fixated on him but who had given him a loan.

    What it actually was.

    Five years of full on affairs with at least three women (one of whom was three years older than our eldest boy). Membership of multiple dating websites and apps. A huge porn habit.
    My then fifteen year old son had found sexts on his dads phone five years earlier (at the time it began (?))and his dad had gaslighted and lied to him about ‘office banter’ and kept him quiet and complicit. When this all came out you can imagine the damage this has done to my eldest on top of the usual affair damage.
    As soon as my eldest told me just after the multiple ddays I never looked at my ex the same.
    Still hard to believe.

    I think for me this was the hardest part of the whole nightmare. That struggle to let go of the man I thought I knew and to put in place the lying monster he actually was. In the early days and months your mind and body follow your ‘muscle memory’ for a while and I had to keep a list of all he had done to remind myself who he was. Then it gets somewhat easier but I still became very non reactive around him to cope with the two versions. I don’t expect to see him now for months possibly longer and hopefully I will now be able to see him for who he is. The who I thought he was will be a vague echo in the back of my mind.
    This was a tough assignment today. So much for fun Friday CL! This was ‘useful Friday’. ❤️

    • Capricorn,
      My heart feels so heavy reading your post.
      I want to hug you and your son and help to take away the pain.
      I am so sorry.❤️

    • The mental dissonance is exhausting. On day when i commented on being surprised he had a twitter account (more ego kibbles) he instantly replied “Im not who you think I am” . Those words haunt me as a total admission of his double life that he kept his real self behind a curtain. And there was ne thinking i could trust him with my life. These days he doesn’t even tell our grown children where he lives with his girlfriend barely older than our eldest son. Surprise.

  • What I thought on DDay….. an emotional affair that started after his dad died (mid life crisis)

    What it really was….. sex in parks, at his work, in hotels, in grocery store parking lots. And there was another OW twelve years before that. (Who knows how many others)

  • What I thought-
    This was enjoying attention from a sleazy man, and it had gone a little too far. She was naive and foolish, and had fallen for the lines of this slippery con man. It was an “accidental” emotional affair. I believed here when she said there had never been any others.
    What was real-
    For starters, there was nothing accidental about this. She knew darn well where it was going. I, too, fell victim to the ridiculous idea that our partners don’t have agency, or even basic sense.
    The hundreds of text messages and daily phone calls erased any idea that it “had gone a little too far.”
    Then, the video evidence from the private investigator dispelled any notion that it was ONLY an emotional affair. (Like Amiisfree, I know longer believe in EA’s. EA’s are simply PA’s that haven’t matured yet…or haven’t been caught).

    Then, she came clean that there had been at least two other guys, going back to before our first anniversary. I suspect there were others, but at that point, who cares? What’s the difference between 3 and 5, or 5 and 10?

  • What I thought it was: He was having a mid-life crisis – it was a one-time thing, he’d come out of the “affair fog” and realize what he was going to lose. I’d been with him since we were 13 years old, we had two wonderful teenage children – surely he would see how precious our life was and the future we had been planning and working towards for so long!

    What it really was: He went underground and began an affair with a colleague’s wife (and supposed friend of mine) while we were in marital counseling for the first affair. He kept it up for 2 years while I thought we were “working on our marriage.” After D-Day #2 (phone call from colleague after he discovered their affair), I still bought his bullshit of wanting to save our marriage. It was all a lie so he could continue cake. I’ll never know if those were the only times he cheated, but it doesn’t matter anymore. He’s welcome to his new life of battling for custody with now-ex-girlfriend over their “oops” baby, and I’ll enjoy my new life with our almost-grown teenage kids and baby-free future! (Until there are grand-children of course – those will be welcomed babies!!)

  • When he said he would give her up while we worked on reconciliation I thought he would give her up while we worked on reconciliation.

    Really they were still in constant contact. Any disapproval I showed of him or his actions was an excuse to contact Schmoopie and get sympathy from her because I was being mean and not understanding his feelings and his pain. Meanwhile she would “break up” with him and then a few days later would send him a movie invite and/or show up at his workplace and he would be all smitten again.

    Giving her up my a$$.

  • I remember reading that Bill Clinton was such a successful charmer because he genuinely cares deeply and intensely about whatever person he is speaking with/ whatever cause he is speaking about, in any given moment. And then, a few moments later, he cares just as authentically and profoundly about the next person and/ or issue.
    I believed that when my x said he loved me and would never want to hurt me, he meant it as a general truth.
    In fact, he meant it in the moments that he said it. In those minutes, he cared only for me and our daughter and was focused on our happiness. But, the rest of the time, he just as genuinely loved the OW (plural). I have no doubt the sick f*cker could pass any polygraph test with flying colours BBC he so deeply believes what he says, as he says it.

  • I thought she was his first affair, she was actually the second physical affair. It was really the 3rd affair because I have since come to realize that the emotional affair he had 8 years prior was still an affair even if it didn’t go physical. That is what got him in the mind set of “if Chumpinrecovery doesn’t please me I have other options” and the power dynamic of our marriage was forever changed.

  • What I thought it was
    Before D-day I knew something was wrong and that he was lying to me. I thought it was because our bills were more than he was earning. That is why he took the 2nd job.

    What it really was
    A restarting (if he ever stopped) of his gambling addiction (he gambled and lied about it during our engagement but I spackled over that red flag after he promised not to do it again). I realised he took the 2nd job where he met OW to help fund his addiction.

    I realised I had been married to a pathalogical liar who thought nothing of planning a baby with someone he claim “didn’t want him anymore”. He also had an affair because I gave too much attention to our son and took it away from him but he thought having another baby would help save our marriage. The OW giving him attention was what made him choose her over me.

    He knew that he was a coward and a liar which was my fault for trusting him as I made it easy for him to do those things. It was really about him having total control over our marriage by using lies. He is such a ‘nice guy’ that no one suspected a thing and he used that to help him to cheat and discard me at exactly the right moment. I had done my job of giving him two kids and was no longer of use.

    • Mine timed it to suit himself. Pathalogical. Son 1 started first parttime job : son 2 on his very last day of school daughter 1 had her 16th bday day before. All the finances sucked dry (including kids savings) all on D day he sat them down and said he was leaving. Then he walked out. Talk about timing. I still can’t believe he organised it all to the wire.

  • What I thought it was:
    My responsibility. I blamed myself for his cheating because he “warned” me if I didn’t start putting out more, he was going to go looking elsewhere. I was having a lot of problems sexually that I thought stemmed from my abusive first marriage and I could not understand why it was affecting me so much at that point in our relationship, when we’d had a really good sex life in the first years. I chalked some of it up to the death of our baby and just thought we were muddling through.
    What it actually was:
    I only clued this in over the last few days, when I realized he’d had an affair about 5 years ago. All the pieces fell into place while I was posting here. That first affair was about the time I started having problems with the old feelings of abuse cropping up…because I was being abused again only this time it was by him and a part of me knew it on a deeper level. He let me believe it was “my” problem and then threatened me with an “or else” ultimatum. It explains why he refused any counseling whatsoever….because he didn’t want the whole truth to come out, and he knew I’d leave him after figuring it out.

    • The level of their cruelty and deceit is mindboggling. I’m so sorry you had to endure this.

    • So sorry, Sunflower. I relate to the demands for sex after struggling with surgeries for endometriosis, damage from childbirth, etc.

      You also just said something that struck me…he refused counseling because “he didn’t want the whole truth to come out.” My husband also refused to let me come to counseling with him. I’d never thought about the fact that he probably didn’t want me to hear the extent of what was going on. Hmm.

      • Mine wouldn’t consider counseling at all. Not together or apart…it was fine for me if I wanted to go, but he wasn’t going to. It boggled my mind that he literally seemed to toss out our 12 years together…as though it were so traumatic for him.

        Now that the other affair has been realized, it all makes sense.

    • Anyone who threatened you while you were grieving a lost baby and working through abuse issues is a…#%+*! I mean, I trust that he sucks!
      Wishing you brighter days Sunflower.

      • For me that abuse is on the same level as ignoring when you are super sick / family tragedy. .. child in ER as you carry on with yr 40th bday. What i realise now is that all that spackling was covering up how little he gave a shit.

  • What I thought it was:
    A 30-year marriage between two honest, faithful people who had made a good life. Those two honest, faithful people were looking forward to retirement, grandchildren, and spending the rest of their life together.

    What it was:
    A 30-year marriage (with only one honest, faithful person) that was destroyed by his adultery with one of his female coworkers who he happened to talk about way too much, who he felt sorry for because of her “loser” husband, and who he wanted to make feel better. At least 15 months later, after thousands of messages and calls to each other, hook-ups at work conferences, hidden receipts, extra “work travel”, and the throwing away of everything, he gets to be her new “loser” husband.

  • I believed that marriage was a huge, life-long commitment with very specific promises that were important to keep. And that a marriage was about creating a partnership — working together for the benefit of the family.

    What it really was … can be best summed up by the answer STBX gave me when I asked him (after discovering 20+ years of infidelity, that he took me AROUND his APs even when pregnant, obsessive and mysoginistic porn watching, etc.) why in the hell he even married me. In his words: “I wanted to take you off of the market.”

    He never meant even a little bit of the vows. He had his own agenda from the outset. Duping me was at the top of that agenda.

  • When he told me we needed marriage counseling because we weren’t communicating well I thought that meant he cared about me and our marriage and that we could fix the problems we had been having in recent months.

    Turns out we were having problems because he was having affairs and the whole marriage counseling thing was just because he wanted to pretend like he had tried to save our marriage. We only made it through two sessions with the MC before he decided to call it quits because I wasn’t accepting enough of the blame for his poor behavior.

  • Wait a sec. This is prob off topic, but I just thought of another ODD bit of behavior. As I am a very innocent girl, I believed his weird answers to explain it but now I have a FEELING it was way more. OK, here’s my question…I found Preparation H hidden in his sock drawer. I asked him why he used it, and why it was hidden, and he gave me a non-answer which I accepted. (This was years before the affair that led to the discard) I didn’t believe his answer but I thought he was just embarrassed and didn’t want to discuss stuff like that so out of respect, I never pursued it, but now, with all the talk about porn and bisexual stuff, I’m wondering if he was cheating with MEN all along our 26 yr marriage and maybe THATs how I got Hep B? (Which he denies giving me, by the way.) Can anybody tell me if gay sex would cause Prep H use???

    • Gay sex could very possibly cause hemorrhoids….and there are LOTS of reasons for hemorrhoids that are perfectly innocent.

      He wouldn’t hide the need for it if it was an innocent reason.

      • RIGHT!!!! That’s what I asked him, why are you hiding it? And I said if you are having problems, go to a doctor or let’s change your diet or something. He never asked me to get him anything from the store like if he was constipated–it was too odd but I didn’t heed the red flag or push for a more specific answer. I think my GUT knew there was something but no way could I possibly comprehend the entirety of the secrets he kept.

        • Your GUT was probably right. I’ve learned that my feelings that things seemed “off,” or didn’t quite make sense, turned out to be true. I just trusted his explanations over my intuition. Not making that mistake again.

          • I feel so stupid for trusting him in spite of the red flags. I guess if I’m honest, I really didn’t want to know the truth so I accepted his BS. I have forgiven myself for being such an innocent. Nevermore.

            • Oh my, Sabrina. My X also used this Prep H regularly. Said it was because he had a beer or 3. Are you saying this is used for anal sex and, forgive my ignorance, but what causes the hemmroids relating to sex? Obviously, anal but it is because that muscle is being stretched? (I can’t believe I just asked that).

    • OMG!!! Mine was hiding Prep H also. He was/is still, I’m sure, a huge porn addict and very “feminine” in bed; enough that I and our friends suspected a hidden gay life. I’ve told my story before here, but he was a serial cheater from day 1 (25 years total, 21 of marriage.) Very vain and into his appearance (another reason some friends thought he was gay.) I was an 18 year old virgin when we met and started dating, so I was the perfect clueless chump. But the secret, coveted Prep H thing coincided with the final affair that blew everything up PERFECTLY. He was never shy about body functions so the hiding it was very odd. Someone enlighten BeowulfSabrina and me!

      • Hi there Sabrina and beenchumped

        You ask about the prep H. Well I think in your heart of hearts u know. If someone hides prep H then they are HIDING the reason they take it. It’s an obvious, yet startling truth. Yes. Gay sex, anal sex in particular will cause hemorrhoids. The act can literally rip out your anus! This is called “anal prolapse”. I know of colon therapists who treated gay or “not so gay” men and their butts were ripped apart, so much so that they couldn’t control their bowels anymore.

        I feel for you. My monster was extremely effeminate. Everyone thought he was gay. His porn preference was double penetration. I hate that I’m typing this sick shit, but it needs to be said! In my opinion, that type of porn is deviant and suggests homosexual tastes. He also was very fond of his looks etc. Anytime a man hides seemingly simple things, he’s hiding something major.


        • Could also be drugs. Coke addicts like it to soothe their swollen nasal passages.
          Also, not all vain men or men that dress well are gay.
          Some straight men even like shopping and reading and stuff too.

            • Devastated – ‘Yes. Gay sex, anal sex in particular will cause hemorrhoids. The act can literally rip out your anus! This is called “anal prolapse”. I know of colon therapists who treated gay or “not so gay” men and their butts were ripped apart, so much so that they couldn’t control their bowels anymore.”

              Somebody said earlier they needed a shower after a comment. I need one of those Meryl Streep showers in the movie, ‘Silkwood’, after reading this. I’m either more ignorant than I thought possible….or I was right all along about the X and his ‘secrets’ about his anal issues. So many secrets..

  • It is interesting to note that lots of them use the language of therapy and psychology to play the victim and convince us they are in emotional turmoil.
    I’m not dissing either field: I studied psychology and I’ve been to therapy.

    But it is instructive to know they can be used by manipulators in this way.